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signoftheserpent

Xenos Compendium?

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Criticising the opinion that says there was a lack of playtesting in the face of actual errata and faqs would seem contradictory.

The whole point of plattesting is that you don't then need to fix things afterward (assuming such fixes work).

Noone has suggested playtesting is, per se, easy. But it can and should be done. If you choose a fairly in depth crunchy game design then you must accept the requisite amount of playtesting - and it's hard to imagine a shortage of volunteers.

If the issue is time, well perhaps adopting such a heavy duty schedule (3, soon to be 4, game lines) then you really should have known better. If you don't have the resources to put out Xenos Compendium within even the first 2 years of the game's existence then you are not doing your job and have probably not got enough people on the case.

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 That implies that they intended to release Xenos Compendium far earlier than their current timeline indicates. Which clearly is not so. Honestly, with the number of rulebooks available to me as it stands now I've run into no difficulties making challenging, varied endeavours for my players.

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signoftheserpent said:

 

Criticising the opinion that says there was a lack of playtesting in the face of actual errata and faqs would seem contradictory.

The whole point of plattesting is that you don't then need to fix things afterward (assuming such fixes work).

Noone has suggested playtesting is, per se, easy. But it can and should be done. If you choose a fairly in depth crunchy game design then you must accept the requisite amount of playtesting - and it's hard to imagine a shortage of volunteers.

 

Playtesting isn't infallible, it isn't perfect, and it will not catch every mistake, error or issue. To assume that it will demonstrates naive and unrealistic expectations.

Hypothetically, if you playtest with a hundred groups (600 or so people) for six weeks (slightly longer than is typical, in my experience), and they all test the game for four hours a week (fairly typical, in my own experiences - those playtesters do have lives and other committments, afterall, so a single four-hour session a week is a fair assumption), then you've essentially gained 14,400 man-hours of testing, plus any other time individuals spend looking over the rules outside of sessions. The attention that can be given to a book is inherently limited, and finding decent playtesters (who'll provide useful feedback) isn't as easy as just throwing copies of the manuscript out and telling people to "go nuts" (Green Ronin tried to use a large number of playtesters on WFRP2... extremely poor "signal to noise" ratio... and while I imagine that the playtesting for D&D4 was extremely organised, and I know it involved a lot of playtesters... the game still produces a lot of errata). No matter what you do, mistakes will slip through the process.

In the first six weeks after release, I expect the resultant book to be scrutinised by far, far more people (everyone that buys it, and any interested friends) than playtested it. In essence, the book receives far more attention in the first six weeks after release than the playtesters could possibly provide. That attention is almost guaranteed to pick up on whatever fell through the cracks by sheer weight of numbers.

signoftheserpent said:

If the issue is time, well perhaps adopting such a heavy duty schedule (3, soon to be 4, game lines) then you really should have known better. If you don't have the resources to put out Xenos Compendium within even the first 2 years of the game's existence then you are not doing your job and have probably not got enough people on the case.

 

Ah, wonderful... so you've tried to boil the concept down to its simplest possible level... I'm afraid it doesn't work like that.

It's not just time, it's money, and it's the efforts of everyone involved. Those are what limit the number of books coming out each year. Those, and the capabilities of distributors (who can only take so much product in any given month, because the stores they supply can only hold so much stock at any one time). Essentially, between all those factors, there's only so much that can be released in a given year, regardless of any other factors.

What determines what those books are and what they should contain - well, I don't know the process, it's not something I'm required to deal with, but I'm assuming that a fair amount of thought goes into it. FFG aren't only catering to you, so your opinion of which books are important and which are pointless is a tiny part of a much bigger puzzle when determining which books are worked on and released in which order.

The Xenos Compendium sits after Hostile Acquisitions on the release schedule. That was decided quite some time ago. I have not worked on the Xenos Compendium, so I don't know anything about it beyond what the general public knows, but from my own experiences, it will not have been written until a few months after Hostile Acquisitions was finished, and this is with several writing teams and several lead developers working on multiple books on their own schedules (so that the development of a Dark Heresy book does not interfere with the development of books for Rogue Trader, and so forth).

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Does the OP work for another publishing company?  I've never seen someone so furiously attack a publisher for the lack of a monster manual,  Tell you what, I'll make you one but youll have to buy all the books theyve published and get a copier and copy each page that has a xeno statline on it.  Then you can look at my DH/RT/DW/BC Monster Manual (which will be cheap at 500$ just for you - and full of blank numbered pages) and look at the index, you can paste the monsters in on the indicated pages. Voila.  Monster manual complete. 

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N0-1_H3r3 said:

Playtesting isn't infallible, it isn't perfect, and it will not catch every mistake, error or issue. To assume that it will demonstrates naive and unrealistic expectations.

Well, no. We aren't playtesting the Infinite Computer Program. We are talking about simple maths in a roleplaying game. These problems can and should have been spotted. To imply they are terrifyingly complicated is really just nonsense.

And if FFG thinks Xenos Compendium isn't something worth releasing earlier - given the lack of antagonists in the main book then they really don't know what they are doing and shoudl really take some time to figure out what they are trying to acheive. Edge of the Abyss could have had a lot more of this kind of content instead of an adventure and a list of rogue traders. It's thsi kind of half assed thinking that sells the line short.

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 signoftheserpent said:


Criticising the opinion that says there was a lack of playtesting in the face of actual errata and faqs would seem contradictory.

 

The whole point of plattesting is that you don't then need to fix things afterward (assuming such fixes work).

 

 

Show me a RPG product that doesn't have Errata. Or rather, show me a product that doesn't have, nor need one. It simply doesn't exist. You will always have items that were missed. Rules/items used in ways that designers/testers didn't see. Rules "broken", etc. As such, there will always be Errata. I will admit I wish they came out a little faster and more regular, but at least we get something.

signoftheserpent said:


Noone has suggested playtesting is, per se, easy. But it can and should be done. If you choose a fairly in depth crunchy game design then you must accept the requisite amount of playtesting - and it's hard to imagine a shortage of volunteers.

 

I can assure you that it can, and does happen. As mentioned, just because somebody is willing to do so, doesn't make them good at it. You should also remember that books contain more than just rules. Setting, story, etc. actually consumes more pages. So while you seem 100% focused on the "crunchy rules", I'm sure there are testers who are focused on making sure the setting/fluff/lore/etc. is consistent.

signoftheserpent said:


If the issue is time, well perhaps adopting such a heavy duty schedule (3, soon to be 4, game lines) then you really should have known better. If you don't have the resources to put out Xenos Compendium within even the first 2 years of the game's existence then you are not doing your job and have probably not got enough people on the case.

 

 

 

As mentioned Xenos Compendium was never supposed to come out earlier than now. If you look at Dark Heresy it was very similar:

DH Rule Book
GM Kit
Inquisitor's Handbook
Purge the Unclean
Disciples of the Dark Gods
Creatures Anathema

RH Rule Book
GM Kit
Lure of the Expanse
Into the Storm
Edge of the Abyss

The big difference is the DH release lumped all the adventure books one after another. Which is great if you are running it, but horrible if you are a general player or not using the pre-created adventure. RH instead breaks it up so you aren't hit with 3 adventure books one after another. I think this is a better setup from a business perspective. Though as a GM who doesn't run the pre-created stuff, I would have liked to see the Xenos Bestiary sooner for sure. However I still have plenty of stuff to work with and don't feel it was a bad design decision.

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signoftheserpent said:

N0-1_H3r3 said:

Playtesting isn't infallible, it isn't perfect, and it will not catch every mistake, error or issue. To assume that it will demonstrates naive and unrealistic expectations.

 

Well, no. We aren't playtesting the Infinite Computer Program. We are talking about simple maths in a roleplaying game. These problems can and should have been spotted. To imply they are terrifyingly complicated is really just nonsense.

And if FFG thinks Xenos Compendium isn't something worth releasing earlier - given the lack of antagonists in the main book then they really don't know what they are doing and shoudl really take some time to figure out what they are trying to acheive. Edge of the Abyss could have had a lot more of this kind of content instead of an adventure and a list of rogue traders. It's thsi kind of half assed thinking that sells the line short.

 

Maybe it's just me but I have a differen opinion. Actually I think that the monster manuals are among the least necessary books in the line. I bought Edge of the Abyss because it had Rogue Traders and an adventure in it. I loved DotDG because it was NOT a monster manual but something far more usable.

In fact I would rather have seen The Achilus Crusade released before MotX.

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signoftheserpent said:

Well, no. We aren't playtesting the Infinite Computer Program. We are talking about simple maths in a roleplaying game. These problems can and should have been spotted. To imply they are terrifyingly complicated is really just nonsense.

Limited time, limited attention, and an assortment of other problems to deal with.

You only see the finished product. You don't see the playtest manuscripts, so you are only capable of commenting on the errors that are missed... because you don't see the ones that are found and resolved. You and everyone else in the community have far more time and a far greater number of eyes looking at the books, so you'll find things that the playtesters unfortunately missed... and that doesn't account for the errors that creep in after playtesting (for example, some of the problems in The Inquisitor's Handbook weren't in the playtest manuscript, but rather appeared after... it can happen). Nor does it account for the fact that many rules are actually subjective - you might not like a given rule, but that doesn't make it wrong, afterall, if it produces the results the designer intended - or that the books aren't just maths (there's actually very little maths involved in writing an NPC statblock, for example - most of it is picking the right abilities and values for the context, which is more art than science).

It's one thing to criticise the process from the comfort of your own home without having any practical experience of the matter. It's another entirely to be involved in the process and to have experience of some of the things that can go wrong.

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signoftheserpent said:

bobh said:

 

Does the OP work for another publishing company?  I've never seen someone so furiously attack a publisher for the lack of a monster manual,

 

I think this is just pointless provocation.

 

 

Pot, meet kettle.  Kettle, Meet Pot.

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bobh said:

signoftheserpent said:

 

bobh said:

 

Does the OP work for another publishing company?  I've never seen someone so furiously attack a publisher for the lack of a monster manual,

 

I think this is just pointless provocation.

 

 

 

 

Pot, meet kettle.  Kettle, Meet Pot.

Pot_Meet_Kettle1284677099.jpg

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N0-1_H3r3 said:

signoftheserpent said:

 

Well, no. We aren't playtesting the Infinite Computer Program. We are talking about simple maths in a roleplaying game. These problems can and should have been spotted. To imply they are terrifyingly complicated is really just nonsense.

 

Limited time, limited attention, and an assortment of other problems to deal with.

You only see the finished product. You don't see the playtest manuscripts, so you are only capable of commenting on the errors that are missed... because you don't see the ones that are found and resolved. You and everyone else in the community have far more time and a far greater number of eyes looking at the books, so you'll find things that the playtesters unfortunately missed... and that doesn't account for the errors that creep in after playtesting (for example, some of the problems in The Inquisitor's Handbook weren't in the playtest manuscript, but rather appeared after... it can happen). Nor does it account for the fact that many rules are actually subjective - you might not like a given rule, but that doesn't make it wrong, afterall, if it produces the results the designer intended - or that the books aren't just maths (there's actually very little maths involved in writing an NPC statblock, for example - most of it is picking the right abilities and values for the context, which is more art than science).

It's one thing to criticise the process from the comfort of your own home without having any practical experience of the matter. It's another entirely to be involved in the process and to have experience of some of the things that can go wrong.

Here here!

As N0-1 said, you'd be surprised how many of the problems you see were never seen during playtesting, since manuscripts can be changed after the playtest period, as with The Inquisitor's Handbook.

This is just coming across as a subjective opinion of one person who is arguing that his opinion is factual, and therefore anything diverging from that is wrong. It's quite sad really that, whilst you have the right to complain, you are doing so on the presumption that not everyone might agree with you (as others who have stated their preference and appreciation for Edge of the Abyss have stated),

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 On FFG's frontpage it says they're hiring for associate RPG producer for the 40K games. If any of you guys have good degree's you could take advantage of that and influence the game and/or it's release schedule for the better. I would imagine it would be a really fun job too.

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I dunno about trying to get a job with FFG myself (lacking a degree being one disqualifying feature).

... ...

But I know if I thought a few posters around here stood a chance of influencing the game, I'd start shopping around for hitmen if certain posters around here were on the verge of getting a job.

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 I'd like to make a point about playtesting:

Ars Magica 5th Edition boasted the largest # of rounds of playtesting, ever, at the time it was published in...2004 or 2005. It still has lots of errata. The book also has more playtesting credits I've seen in almost any other supplement too. Mind you, most of the errors were smaller goofs because the major issues were ironed out and caught.

http://www.atlas-games.com/arm5/arm5errata.php

 

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signoftheserpent said:

Why on earth would anyone need a degree to playtest games?

You weren't paying attention; they're talking about a job as an Associate RPG Developer - that is, the job of overseeing and leading the development of RPG products - not playtesting.

The two are very different things...

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bobh said:

Economics degree here!  PM me if you want to interview.

 

Sorry I didn't mean to give the wrong impression I'm not actually affiliated with FFG in any way other than that I play their games. I just noticed that posting and thought with all the design discussion going on in this thread it would be worthwhile to mention.

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N0-1_H3r3 said:

 

signoftheserpent said:

 

Why on earth would anyone need a degree to playtest games?

 

 

You weren't paying attention; they're talking about a job as an Associate RPG Developer - that is, the job of overseeing and leading the development of RPG products - not playtesting.

The two are very different things...

 

 

Okay, so, why does an "Associate RPG Developer" position require a degree? I'm getting irritated by the arbitrary requirement of Bachelors (and, increasingly, Masters) Degrees for jobs that used to require only a high school diplomah in the pre-Reaganomics era. Can we finally start calling this what it is- blatant classism- and stop pretending that no one without a degree can possibly be smart enough to wipe their own butt, much less work an office job...?

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 Hold on, has anybody actually read the position listing? It seems like they haven't. Here is what is listed for "Candidate Requirements" for the RPG Producer position:

  • Strong creative and organizational skills
  • Appreciation for board/card/RPG/etc. games
  • Excellent writing and communication skills
  • Willingness to take ownership of projects, work long hours, etc.
  • Proficiency with basic office software
  • Familiarity with the following is a plus: Adobe InDesign, Filemaker Pro, Mac OS X
  • Experience in the hobby game industry a plus

That's it. No degree requirement. I'm sure something like a creative writing degree would help your resume, but its not a requirement. Far as I can tell the position requires a professional who can communicate well (ie: no basement dweller), knows how to use a Mac, is able and willing to be a leader, and live/breathe/love 40kRPG. Oh, and the ability to relocate to Minneapolis, MN. That last part shuts me out pretty well. Also, while pay isn't listed, most people in the RPG industry do it because they love it, not for the money (in other words, it probably pays pretty low).

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