Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tragedy of the Piggy Commons

I have become a Glitch player.  Unlike most games where I am the trailblazer in my family I ended up getting into the game well after Wendy and even after Elli.  In the past it has always been my role to provide advice (Go over there, climb that thing, kill that guy), strategy (Here is the best build for you) and cash (Sky, can I have enough gold to buy myself an epic mount for my 3rd alt please?) in game to support Wendy and Elli but this time I am the noob.  Wendy shipped me a ton of money to let me buy big bags for my Glitch character so I could play properly - a deep part of my mind wants to gather that much money again and ship it back to balance the books (because I am insane) but the other half is just happy clicking on things and levelling up.

I like Glitch.  It doesn't take anything resembling dexterity but it does encourage the creation of enormous spreadsheets, which is a feature I like in a game.  Unlike WOW, where 99%+ of all crafting recipes are utterly useless in Glitch all the recipes are good.  There are some that are more efficient that others of course which is why you "need" a big ass spreadsheet to tell you what the best stuff to make is but if you just sit down and cook / alchemize / tinker randomly you are always improving and making better stuff.

The really neat feature of Glitch is that everyone is in a single world and you can influence that world by knocking down trees, stealing pigs, adding new creatures or otherwise altering the features of the streets that comprise the Glitch world.  One thing that slipped by the development team is that Piggies, when captured, can be sold for a huge sum of money.  The trouble with this is that this removes Piggies from the supply chain and wrecks other people's attempts to create or move them and rewards that behaviour.  In this sort of player generated world it is okay if one person moves Piggies to one location and someone else moves them back - eventually somebody gives up but either way it is okay for the rest of us.  When you attach a huge cash reward to *destroying* content though even players who feel no interest in the location of Piggies run around capturing them to get money to buy things.  The rest of the game is about collecting, managing and building and this one feature was about destroying things for profit - hardly a good match.  Yesterday the developers patched this out of the game and you can no longer sell Piggies at all, only move them from place to place.

The other amusing thing about Glitch and my psychology is the Better Learning tree.  There are lots of skills and they rank up in real time.  The early skills in each tree take 30 mins or an hour but the later ones can take a long damn time - like Better Learning 5, which takes more than 5 days.  My brain constantly screams at me to just keep taking the skills that make me learn other skills faster because that is how you get twinky in the long run but in this game it is obviously wrong to do so.  You need to pick other skills up first so you can actually do things in the game; Better Learning is something you need to do but you need to balance how much of it you do.  Well, you *should* balance it.  I ramped straight up though and the rest of the skills be damned.  Learn faster!


  1. They keep nerfing things I like to do and it's making me unhappy.

    It's weird, if the game had launched without being able to vendor pigs I don't think I'd have cared. If there was always an xp cap on making rice that was around 30 I don't think I'd have noticed.

    But as it is when I was able to one day make hundreds of rice with no problem and now I can't even make a single max batch? It sucks.

    It may make for a better game in the long run but it makes me sad in the right now and I've pretty much stopped playing as a result. I have hundreds of rice that wants to get cooked but if I can't get my xp for it why bother?

  2. Yeah, there are real issues with launching a game with big holes in it and then patching them. I bought a bunch of the items that let you capture pigs so I could get them on the cooldown and now they are rotting in my cupboard.

    I like optimizing games and finding the best possible paths (just as you do!) and having those paths get plugged is frustrating when you have gone to significant lengths to build your strategy around it. I don't know that the rice cooking nerf was remotely necessary but I think that the pig selling one was; it was way too much cash and it rewarded a destructive activity. Getting lots of experience for cooking rice doesn't seem problematic at all though so it surprises me that they stepped in to change that.

  3. The xp cap for cooking seems like it was just a mistake. What they should have done was reduce the xp given for the best recipes. If making one batch of something means that you hit a daily xp cap, then clearly making that thing gives way too much xp.

    Plus, these changes are actually just profiting the hardcore people who abused them to get on top. If someone has 3 million more xp than you because they "abused" a "loophole" and then the loophole is closed then that actually amplifies their lead. In either case you obviously have to play more than then to catch up. If the xp/hour for playing is now smaller then you have to play *much* more than them to catch up.

    I think I'm going to make a forum post!