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Nikel
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NCP syndrome

Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:52 am

Perhaps it is a bit premature to say it but...


Is RoP already suffering from NCP syndrome?

The game has just been released so I would expect more posts in the forum, bugs, historical comments, any small AAR...

But the subforum looks more like the polish wastelands of RoP map.

What happens? :(


What to expect? NCP fate? An early abandonment of the game by the developers. The only hope is Lodilefty, perhaps will he suppport the game as WIA? :)

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squarian
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Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:23 pm

I sincerely hope you're wrong, Nikel - I have been looking forward to ROP with high hopes. The Frederician era has been a favorite of mine for years, ever since I came across the SPI/AH board wargame "Frederick the Great", nearly thirty years ago. In the early 90s I painted up a large army of Austrian 15mm miniatures for use with the "Koenig Krieg" rules and fought several glorious versions of the 7YW using Frederick the Great for the strategic dimension and fighting out the major battles on the tabletop.

That being said, I think ROP still needs some work. Three reasons come to mind for why the forum isn't busier.

The first is that the 7YW is simply not as well-known or popular among wargamers, particularly in the States - nothing AGEOD can do about that, except hone ROP into such a good game that it draws the WWII/ACW crowd on the strength of its design if not its subject.

The second is that people may be still digesting the game and haven't arrived at conclusions yet - maybe there will be more comment once people have had a chance to "test drive".

The third follows from the second. I much prefer PBEM (and have just started my first with ROP), but it seems clear that most people play vs. AI most of the time. In this respect, I have to offer what I hope is constructive criticism: some of the AGEOD AI's well-known limitations seem to be aggravated in ROP, and where they were tolerable in AACW and WIA, they come close to breaking ROP IMO.

Specifically, the AI has always tended to scatter its forces in deep long-range raids rather than concentrate a main force, and quite often uses its C-in-C to lead one of these raids in force rather than a main body. This was just about acceptable in AACW and WIA, where the vast distances and strategic situation made the AI's "style" just about viable.

In ROP on the other hand, it is crippling - in several practice games as the Austrian side, I've never seen the Prussians organize a formidable main army, and within the first few turns the concentration around Dresden/Pirna breaks up, usually with Frederic leading a single column in some hare-brained raid deep into the Empire. Frequently, Frederick is never seen again and the scattered corps-sized forces under the secondary commanders like Henry are easily tracked down and defeated and destroyed in detail.

My point is not that the AI is easy to beat, however - it always is, and one accepts that AI is not up to a human opponent. The problem is that with half a dozen raids roaming around the map, the game simply doesn't "feel" like mid-18th c. warfare - what was reasonably acceptable on a map of 1860s America feels totally wrong on a map of 1750s central Europe. And most of us play these games for the "feel", so if the game doesn't work on this level, it won't work at all.

Of course, one can always play PBEM instead (and I intend to), but we know that most people won't. So IMO (offered in an earnest spirit of constructive criticism) if the game is to be successful and the forum busy, someone needs to take a hard look at the AI.

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Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:48 pm

I also think that many people are waiting and hoping that a physical copy is released. That is the case with me but if no physical copy is released I will get a digital copy, though many people simply refuse to download games for any reason.
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Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:14 pm

squarian wrote:In this respect, I have to offer what I hope is constructive criticism: some of the AGEOD AI's well-known limitations seem to be aggravated in ROP, and where they were tolerable in AACW and WIA, they come close to breaking ROP IMO.

Specifically, the AI has always tended to scatter its forces in deep long-range raids rather than concentrate a main force, and quite often uses its C-in-C to lead one of these raids in force rather than a main body. This was just about acceptable in AACW and WIA, where the vast distances and strategic situation made the AI's "style" just about viable.

In ROP on the other hand, it is crippling - in several practice games as the Austrian side, I've never seen the Prussians organize a formidable main army, and within the first few turns the concentration around Dresden/Pirna breaks up, usually with Frederic leading a single column in some hare-brained raid deep into the Empire. Frequently, Frederick is never seen again and the scattered corps-sized forces under the secondary commanders like Henry are easily tracked down and defeated and destroyed in detail.

My point is not that the AI is easy to beat, however - it always is, and one accepts that AI is not up to a human opponent. The problem is that with half a dozen raids roaming around the map, the game simply doesn't "feel" like mid-18th c. warfare - what was reasonably acceptable on a map of 1860s America feels totally wrong on a map of 1750s central Europe. And most of us play these games for the "feel", so if the game doesn't work on this level, it won't work at all.

Of course, one can always play PBEM instead (and I intend to), but we know that most people won't. So IMO (offered in an earnest spirit of constructive criticism) if the game is to be successful and the forum busy, someone needs to take a hard look at the AI.

Well, I do not know if I can tell you this :siffle: ... but we have identified the problem that you describe and, as always, the AGEOD hard working squirrel is doing his best effort to improve some Athena's mechanism related to that. ;)
So, rest assured, somebody IS looking into this... :thumbsup:

By the way, just as a funny comment... we used to call this Athena's behaviour the "WIA syndrome". :mdr:
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caranorn
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Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:28 pm

I agree that the ai's behaviour in RoP is annoying. It's why for the first time in an Ageod game I've switched to PBEM. Still I don't think that would explain the low activity in this forum. If anything a problem with the ai should mean more activity, complaints and sugestions. But that doesn't seem to be the case...

I am particularly disapointed by the low level of activity here considering how Paradox purchased Ageod. I'd have thought that with Paradox's backing new customers could have been found, even if one assumes some loss of customers due to past bad experience with Paradox (I wasn't too happy at first either, but I thought if the Phils and co. can live with it I'll live with it too). Anyhow, so far the Paradox backing as well as additional online distribution doesn't seem to have paid off. So I'm actually starting to worry that Paradox might lose interest in Ageod's products, which would mean no more new games after VGN. Obviously not what i'd like to see, though I guess I'm just overly pessimistic...

As to people waiting for a physical copy of the game. I think that's just unrealistic. Fringe games like these (yes, that's right, turn based strategy is a fringe market) won't see many more physical copies. Look at the shelves at your local supermarket and other retail shops. You won't find any serious strategy there. Back in the 90's the shelves would be half filled with games by SSI, SSG, Talon Soft and who knows what other computer wargame companies. Those days are over, we should be happy to have quality games like these via download...

In the end I hope RoP won't go the way of NCP. I'm a bit sadenned by the scope of the map as that limits the possibilities for other 18th century wars (I'd have included all of the Netherlands at least) and therefore greater variety (as in WiA) etc. But otherwise this game is excellent, it can still use some patching like any game (even though no game breaking bugs seem to exist at present). Like many I didn't care much for this period before Ageod decided to publish a game about it, now I've filled yet another gap in my understanding of history (and I studied history in college). So anyone who'se still on the fence about RoP, whose only reason not to buy it is a relatively obscure period of history I say. Stop waiting, buy this game, it's well worth the investment...
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Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:19 pm

I know I'm waiting for the official patch release before diving into some PBEM play. I've been tinkering with the beta/RC, but want to wait for the final release before making the dive.

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Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:35 pm

I am particularly disapointed by the low level of activity here considering how Paradox purchased Ageod. I'd have thought that with Paradox's backing new customers could have been found


I'm one of the new guys brought in by Paradox, but I didn't buy RoP. As a longtime paradox fan (even if their recent products have been disappointing) I check their forums with some regularity, and in the end without the Paradox marketing rising my attention I wouldn't have downloaded the RoP demo...then a sort of chain reaction started: I found a huge WiA + AACW + WW1 deal, I downloaded their demos, bought the bundle pack, then found the publisher of this bundle had gone bankrupt :non: ...and since when I buy a game I also want to support the developer I had to make a choice between NPC @ 10 € (gamersgate offer last week) and RoP @ 30 €.
I definitely like more the setting, the scale and the map style of RoP (plus the nice new features), but in the demo I saw the same AI behaviour reported in this thread (frederick with a small stack attacking alone in bohemia and getting completely destroyed) and I decided that the 20 € price difference was too much :( (especially for a game I would not have played for some time, since I'm playing WiA atm and I spend hours planning every turn :D )

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Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:28 pm

In my point of view, the game lacks of small scenarios (on the contrary of NCP ;) ) !
I tried to start a few 150+ turns Great Campaigns, but I don't have time for them so I'll play ROP later...

I think there is no "bad release" syndrom, Ageod are niche games. And wargamers like to take their time to enjoy something. :p apy:
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Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:57 pm

Bruit Bleu wrote:I think there is no "bad release" syndrom, Ageod are niche games. And wargamers like to take their time to enjoy something. :p apy:

I think this is true too... this is not the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3... so, you can' expect that level of activity around there... :p leure: :p leure:
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Nikel
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Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:43 pm

caranorn wrote: I'm a bit sadenned by the scope of the map as that limits the possibilities for other 18th century wars (I'd have included all of the Netherlands at least) and therefore greater variety (as in WiA) etc


Strangely it was not very commented in its day, but PhilThib already talked about an expansion in the video-interview? Austrian succession and Polish succession wars :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlOFXZn3KAU



And the team was already working on them...

By the way what happened with Hok?

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The Magi
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Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:10 am

I think the physical copy issue is what is holding a lot of people back from buying the game. I shy away from download game since I prefer a physical copy for back up. However, since I enjoyed AGEOD ACW and thought the price was very reasonable went ahead with the dive (Along with getting WIA for $20, score! : D ). :p arty:

I'm playing the grand campaign as the Prussians and I'm have the most uber greatest solo war gaming time of my life. I'm totally trances by this game even if I'm uneducated about this war and there might be a few AI/Other Minor wrinkles in the whole package. My guess is a good portion of people are like myself to this point, to engrossed to comment on the product. Two thumbs up for sure!! :fleurs:

I hope the Austrian succession and Polish succession wars expansion thing is not true for one fact. Paradoxe's expansions piss me off. :tournepas :fleb:

Edit: I direct downloaded from the AGEOD site. Have to support my favorite gaming company after all! One day they shall rule the world... > . >

I encourage any one reading who has yet to buy to do the same.
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Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:12 am

I think there are several reasons why RoP might be failing to attract significant interest, especially on these boards. Whether that lack of interest is translating into poor sales I have no idea......I do so hope not.

In some respects I know I'm am going to be controversial. Its not my deliberate intention. Just my own personal perception.

Firstly, as has been said many times in these forums, strategy wargaming is a 'niche' market which major software developers have long since abandoned leaving a handful of small developers to fill the void. So really large sales cannot realistically be expected. Thus for all we know RoP might be selling very well indeed in comparative terms.

My second point is that, contrary to what is often written on these boards I do not think that potential total sales can be divorced from the subject matter. Certainly there is a 'hard core' of gamers who will purchase ANY good wargame. But personally I think you over-estimate this number at your peril. Most players have favourite periods, in fact many are only really interested in certain periods/wars. Consequently its misguided to expect them to purchase games on periods they have either no knowledge or no interest in. As an aside it would be nice to know the current sales split of RoP between regions of the world. I'm almost prepared to lay money on North American takeup being low with European sales being a lot higher.....for obvious reasons.

Its my belief as well, and I realise that this is likely to be contentious, that the key to a game enjoying very good sales remains the American market but that means that for 'historic' wargames ......if it ain't got a significant American interest/angle sales will be significantly reduced and RoP without doubt is entirely European in theme.

My third and final point will I'm sure attract a lot of criticism and I'm bound to put it badly. For that my apologies in advance. Its the engine itself. Whilst RoP is a very good evolutionary product ...it is just that an 'evolution' rather than a revolution.

Although there are many nice new features in RoP is does look and feel similar to the previous offerings BoA, WiA, ACW, NCP. The truth is that if you have played one of the previous releases then you are halfway to being able to play RoP.

In some respects that is not a bad thing but in others it is. As we all know most players play solo. The AGEod engine rocks when in PBEM mode but thats not how most folks play. Whilst Athena is fair to middling as an AI after a while she becomes easy to conquer and the same faults in her ability are transferred from one game to the next. I'm sure this translates into an element of 'once you've played one title you've played them all' for many potential buyers. In much the same way as Talonsofts Battleground series eventually suffered.

Anyway thats my tuppence worth. I wish RoP every success. I'm sure VGN will be a triumph (as much as anything because it will be an entirely different offering).

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Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:56 am

AndrewKurtz wrote:I know I'm waiting for the official patch release before diving into some PBEM play. I've been tinkering with the beta/RC, but want to wait for the final release before making the dive.


I have started a couple of PBEM games in the release version, but because of the patches we had to restart them and wait for the official patch. I hope to restart them soon, and I was enjoying myself. The problem is you need to complete the game in order to judge it ... (and I haven't) yet.

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Jarkko
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Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:41 am

There is one problem why I abandoned the project to write a campaign AAR. The game doesn't feel at all like 18th century warfare.

The warfare in 7YW period was very much stop&go nature. Strategies were built around forts. Armies avoided each other if just possible. Prussia was throughout the campaign in a danger to be overrun by attacks from four directions.

In the game forts are jokes; even in the latest patch they are just stupid little jokes that have no reason whatsoever to exist on the map. There is guerilla activity, deep raiding going on all the time. Practically each turn sees at least one major battle somewhere on the map. As Prussia you can knock out Sweden out of the game for good, for very small effort. Poland and East Prussia are massive wastelands of no supplies, where Russian armies just disappear if any are sent there.

It almost feels like nobody of the devs or betas even have played the campaign through. I just don't understand how I see these things happening, but I am told here I can not see what I seeing :(

The map looks great. The battle-model is great. But sadly the strategic model just is from a wrong century. Trying to write up an AAR when you have high hopes of finally getting a game focusing on the strategies of the era... let me say it is an excercise in agony and tears (and I love to write AAR's).

I would love to be proven wrong. I would love to read an AAR of the full campaign.
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Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:19 pm

Well wargaming is a niche market. WWII and the ACW sells but a wargame without the USA and one that is situated around the 7YW is even more niche.

Regarding the game itselfs, yeah i see the AI blitzing WWII-style (ignoring every basic supply rule) with her panzerdivi...eeeuh stacks straight to Berlin. Only to die somewhere through lack of supplies when winter comes, more or less the reason why i put it away.

Noticed some of the stocks have 'raid' behaviour when you look through the files. I might toy with them when i have time and see if changing them makes a more enjoyable game for me.
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Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:25 pm

Grouchy wrote:Well wargaming is a niche market. WWII and the ACW sells but a wargame without the USA and one that is situated around the 7YW is even more niche.

Regarding the game itselfs, yeah i see the AI blitzing WWII-style (ignoring every basic supply rule) with her panzerdivi...eeeuh stacks straight to Berlin. Only to die somewhere through lack of supplies when winter comes, more or less the reason why i put it away.

Noticed some of the stocks have 'raid' behaviour when you look through the files. I might toy with them when i have time and see if changing them makes a more enjoyable game for me.


Are you running the lateset public beta patch? We are working on these behaviors [sieges, forts, deep raids, scattered forces, supply, winter quarters] and IMHO are seeing improvements. :w00t:

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Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:03 pm

No physical game for my money, and your association with crooks (paradox), keep me from buying this.

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Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:49 pm

vonRocko wrote:No physical game for my money...

I think we have discussed this many times... digital copies are the future of gaming. Steam, GamersGate, etc are getting bigger and bigger each day.
The boxed copies are now almost exclusive for blockbuster titles nowadays... for the rest of the games, the cost is too high.
That's exactly why you see ROP "cheaper" than the previous AGEOD games. More exactly, for just $29.99. :thumbsup:

Also, just like Gray described, you can always burn your downloaded files into a DVD if you feel safer that way. :D

vonRocko wrote:...and your association with crooks (paradox), keep me from buying this.

Well, that's really sad news... you are missing a great game. :)
The Phils have already stated that they still work independently on France, while Paradox is in Sweden.
Don't get me wrong, but I really think you are seeing a ghost around this... ;)
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Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:42 pm

The physical-CD hangup is bizarre. The download-and-burn alternative is so easy, and the commercial logic against distributing physical copies so inescapable, that it really defies understanding why anyone with an interest in a game would refuse to buy and play it for this reason.

7YW is even more niche


Yes - but if 7YW (or pre-Napoleonic early modern in general) is a niche, it is a very large one.

Computer wargame design and marketing is hard to measure - it hasn't been around long enough and lacks definition since it can bleed over into quasi-simulation strategy games, first-person shooters, etc.

Interest in simulation-gaming of military history, on the other hand, hasn't changed all that much since the advent of paper wargames in the 1960s, and in that case there is a sufficiently large data-set to draw conclusions. In North America, the league table is pretty consistent by titles published and volume of sales over half a century:

1. WWII
2. ACW
3. Napoleonic
4. 7YW & other 18th c. Horse and Musket
5. All other topics and periods.

(I'm guessing the European list would see Napoleonic and ACW swap places.)

So 7YW might only rate 4th place, but it is still one of the major segments of the market. Wargaming, whether paper, tabletop or electronic, has never been more than a boutique cottage industry, but it is a stable one - interest in military gaming has passed the test of time - and the conclusions are obvious: 1) make good, challenging, detailed games; 2) make good games from the top three categories to support the company financially; 3) of all the niche topics, 7YW is probably the most viable.

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Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:49 pm

vonRocko wrote:No physical game for my money,


I've seen a surprising amount of this attitude around. I can understand people not wanting Steam or something like Ubi's glorious new system on their computer, many associate "download only" with these kind of systems. And I suppose the box/physical copy fetish makes sense to a point. A lot of computer wargamers are old board wargamers. They go down in the basement or up in the attic and love to look at that copy of Kampfgruppe there covered in dust, that they haven't done more than look at in 30 years. Brings back memories. I know people that still have every box from every computer game they ever bought. Sure, most of them are useless, and only take up space, but there's the whole nostalgia thing, and wargamers are a maudlin lot.

That said, I still think it's a silly attitude. I tend to toss my boxes as soon as I get the game out of them. They take up space, and who cares about the stupid thing anyway? It's only standing between me and the reason I just shelled out $50, the game. I keep all my CDs (And a few old 3.5s) in a nice leather zip up folder, and whenever I download a game, I burn the setup file, put that CD in the folder, with a space next to it for a CD with patches and mods. But it's an irrational attitude, and not one you're going to be able to change, just like I will never be able to see a spider without wanting to scream like a little girl, they're fixated. As long as someone is releasing boxed games (Or games with massive manuals, another one out there, which I tend to sympathize with much more), they'll be able to point and say, "See, so-and-so is doing it, why can't you"?
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Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:07 pm

I also toss boxes away as soon as I remove the disk and I can easily burn a copy of the disk, but what I miss the most from a physical product is the printed manual. I love reading manuals and hate reading on the computer. I have gone to a printer and had them print the manual for a game from the disk but that costs more money and it is not the same as a handy and compact printed manual. I will eventually buy ROP but if there were a physical copy available I would have already have bought it.
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Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:54 pm

vonRocko wrote:No physical game for my money, and your association with crooks (paradox), keep me from buying this.


I find the "association with crooks (paradox)" a bit strong. I've been quite dissapointed with Paradox over time (unplayable games at publication, expansion policy etc.) but find it greatly exagerated to call them crooks...
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Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:55 pm

Jarkko wrote:...
The game doesn't feel at all like 18th century warfare.
...

It almost feels like nobody of the devs or betas even have played the campaign through. I just don't understand how I see these things happening, but I am told here I can not see what I seeing :(

The map looks great. The battle-model is great. But sadly the strategic model just is from a wrong century.
...


Sadly, this was exactly what I was concerned about and why I am yet to spend my money on the game.
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caranorn
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Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:03 pm

W.Barksdale wrote:Sadly, this was exactly what I was concerned about and why I am yet to spend my money on the game.


The ai's behaviour as far as I've seen so far isn't half as bad as Jarcko states. Also all those bahviour problems are non issues if you go PBEM, in my current game I've only seen skirmishes in 56, 3 major battles around Prague in 57, a few minor battles as well as skirmishes in other areas, no deep raids (as my opponent and I know our forces would most likely be decimated from attrition and lack of supply)....

Sieges might need some looking at though. Maybe there is too much luck involved in their current resolution as I've seen some fortresses fall very fast and others last an entire season despite of similar besieging forces vs. defenders...
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Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:14 pm

W.Barksdale wrote:Sadly, this was exactly what I was concerned about and why I am yet to spend my money on the game.

I must say that I think Jarkko is exaggerating a bit... but that doesn't mean in any way that Jarkko is lying... ;)
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Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:33 pm

lodilefty wrote:Are you running the lateset public beta patch? We are working on these behaviors [sieges, forts, deep raids, scattered forces, supply, winter quarters] and IMHO are seeing improvements. :w00t:

Your inputs are not ignored. :D :thumbsup:


No, I'm running 1.01g, not the latest (1.02).
Reason? Already was quit far with my campaign and after skimming through the "readme" in Pocus his "ROP 1.02 patch - public release candidate" thread I didn't saw any of those improvments mentioned there. However did saw this sentence: [color="Red"]All saved games will be erased by the patch, as this version is not compatible with previously started games.[/color]


vonRocko wrote:No physical game for my money, and your association with crooks (paradox), keep me from buying this.


I can see both sides but digital download is imo the reason why there are still wargames made, without DD = no wargames (or any niche game). Besides that i find DD easy and quick. Within a couple of minutes you have a physical game burned on a CD/DVD or 2 or 3 if you want for extra backup's. As long as there is no stupid/ridiculous DRM it's the way to go for me.
A cavalry general should be a master of practical science, know the value of seconds, despise life and not trust to chance.

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Generalisimo
Posts: 4176
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Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:43 pm

Grouchy wrote:I can see both sides but digital download is imo the reason why there are still wargames made, without DD = no wargames (or any niche game). Besides that i find DD easy and quick. Within a couple of minutes you have a physical game burned on a CD/DVD or 2 or 3 if you want for extra backup's. As long as there is no stupid/ridiculous DRM it's the way to go for me.

Totally agree with this. :thumbsup:
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Jarkko
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Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:19 pm

caranorn wrote:Sieges might need some looking at though. Maybe there is too much luck involved in their current resolution as I've seen some fortresses fall very fast and others last an entire season despite of similar besieging forces vs. defenders...

You see wrong. It is not possible. If you still claim to see those things, it just spices up the game. It is fun the game is an arbitrary lottery where you have absolutely zero chance to affect the outcome.

If you disagree with the above, some semi-official board member will come shortly and use foul language at you. That should teach you to behave!

Generalisimo wrote:I must say that I think Jarkko is exaggerating a bit... but that doesn't mean in any way that Jarkko is lying... ;)

Yeah, this is the comments I get all the time. I've actually played the game a bit, you know, like actually played it through a couple times. Once even with the latest patch (although I admit it was more to see if *anything* has changed and I didn't spend much brain power; yup, there were a few new portraits, which is nice, but not exactly what I had hoped would have changed).

Has anybody on the dev-team even played the campaign through lately? You see, I can not fathom how the devs and betas seem to have absolutely no idea of what is happening in the game if they've played through the campaign.


EDIT: And just to save my sanity and the other forumites from my poisonous comments, I will now de-install the game. Else I will just in vain hope launch a new campaign after the next patch, and I will be even more pissed off :(
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PhilThib
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Location: Meylan (France)

Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:26 pm

I have played the campaign(s), dozens of time... more than quite a few of you combined here...which is quite logical ;)

There is no need to get angry or aggressive here :(

I have duly noted your points and some are quite valid, especially those pertaining to the style of warfare in the 18th century. It takes some time and hours of play to reach something close to the spirit, and if we were to make the game rules follow all those historical constraints strictly, the game would probably attract even more critics for being to restrictive :bonk:

So we have been many persons in the beta and dev trying out improvements, mostly on winter quarters, AI analysis and various other points such as siege warfare... of course we are far from perfect, but this not a totally irrealistic work either.

Therefore we are still continuing to improve those parts of the game...and volunteers with goodwill and experience are always welcome to join the betas :cool:
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