MP for newbies, from old forum

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ruthlessferengi
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MP for newbies, from old forum

Post by ruthlessferengi » Sun May 18, 2008 11:29 pm

Having played my share of MPs I find there are several important points to be aware of when playing an MP. These may save you a lot of disappointment and hassle... MP can be the most infuriating and disabling BOTF experience you've ever had...

So, anticipating things ahead of time will save you disappointment... At the same time, you can't even begin to compare MP to sinlge player when it comes to action, challenge, and unpredictability of the game... It's a given, AI in botf offers no challenge - so you need humans to make it worthwhile...

0. plan your time ahead - there is no such thing as a 1 hour game - unless you are keeping your turns under 1 min consistently, have perfect connection, and have small universe... Sure, I've played excellent games in under 1 hours - but that requires a fast turn around for all parties involved, experience and luck ...If planning to play epic, level 0 game on large scale - plan for 6-10 hour minimum or several 1-2 hour session (seen below why...). Epic games are awesome, but you need multisessions, and low-powered fleets to keep your battles intersting... In MP, even vanilla does not support more then 100 ship battle more then 60% of times... you always have to replay, reload, etc. And in the end, you wipe each other out in 2 turns - and that's no fun after 300 turn invested ....

1. Chose your partners - Check your GMT - if you guys 6 hour apart and have day time jobs, family, dogs, etc - don't be naive, it's going to be very difficult to swing a multisession MP...

Do not insist going for 5 human sessions - TROUBLE. it takes one slow player with shady connection to slow the game to a screeching halt. Ever spent 3 hours to get to turn 20? I have and don't ever want to be there again...

Turn time, "human player in battle" notice that leads to crash, negotiation of terms - raise that to power of N (where n=number of players) and you have the appreciation for delay... This applies to people whom you don't know. If you know your buddies, their kinks and prefs - and happy with their 5 min turn time - go ahead...

IF we ever all go to prison, have free internet, and have all the time in the world - call me for a 5 person game... in real life, go for 2 max 3 people....

2. choose your connection - if playing with no wireless laptops, direct IP is going to be more stable then hamachi... I don't know why, but that's been my experience... Warzone is God sent - use it but set up the ports first...

3. watch your turn time. There is nothing more frustrating then waiting around for people to press turn.

Do the math. Unless you are playing a small galaxy when range is not a problem, you are looking at 30-50 turns just to meet (with large, more like 50)... Then, of course, everybody goes for the big cold war type of fleet - so massing up the armour, getting that 2nd generation blimp takes another 30 turns - so you need 80-100 turns just to be ready to for a big showdown... So, if you take 5 min per turn - i kid you not - I've played a few of those whith 5 min per turn!!! - you are looking at 3.5-5 h just to get your fleets together...

Factor in connection time set up (i don't know why but it takes 10-30 min to get everybody onboard, sort out issues with different modems, ports, versions, mods, updates), plus mandatory crash every 30-40 turns with reloads, you are looking at a long time... So, make you moves count - if you make your turn time under 1 min - Totally possible for the first 50 turns - you'll speed up the game and won't spoil the enjoyment...

If you play epic/early level - project yourself, how much time you'll spend honing your pet universe with 20 systmes when you take 5 min per turn with a single system in the beginning...

4. choose your mod - there are tried and true MP mods that hold well - planet, building, prime directive, T10 - all are comparable to vanilla and some, (PD) are even better IMHO with longer battles better balance more chances to play an EPIC game... UM3 and UDM2 are great for single player but they are notoriously unpredictable in MP particularly for large battles... Their high poly counts are not suitable for large battles and clog up games graphics engine...So, unless you are going to keep you fleets size low and play smart & elegant type of epic diplomatic game (none of that fierce build up and single battle that ends all) - then I'd suggest you stay away from these mods - OR risk investing time and energy in creating a perfect universe only to be disappointed by not being able to strut your stuff in that final showdown... Don't get me wrong, they are fine mods, but MP exacts an extra level of stability that they do not have - or so has been my experience.


Edit: new UDM3, Uncivil mod have new absolutely fabulous low popy count models that hold very well in battles. very robust mods....

Finally, there are mods that have ships overpowered - one blast - and the game is over - so if you made the wrong turn, did not haul all your junk in one place at the right time - you get blown to bits and game is over... There are mods that have ships balanced just right - long battles over 20 turns, and if you think that you are loosing, you can still get away and not lose your ships... Such is BOP, UDM3, PD and several others... So chose accordingly... It is painful to lose your fleet in 2 turns after 6 hours of "heavy labour"...

5. Interact...There are people I played with that you never hear from until you meet them for a final shoot out at turn 89... i suppose there is a point in that kind of set up - build up and then show you stuff... but somehow it is not different from a single player...After a two turn battle with two power overloaded hoards of space junk (chances are, battle did not go well - crash, needs to be replayed etc...) then it's over... 6 hours spent playing with AI and a silent buddy for basically single battle... I don't know how that is that enjoyable... It's your personal style, but at least interact, do little forays, manifest your presence etc - make look like you are not playing with predictable AI...

Interacting is particularly paramount when playing hamachi

- IMPORTANT -

in hamachi you sometimes get dropped but game won't crush... So you can be playing with your phantome buddy for long time, admiring his "fast turn time", wondering why he ignores your insults - only to realize that your human counterpart was replaced by dumb AI 50 turns ago and find hamachi filled with screams of "let me back in!!!" nature... So check with each other frequently...

to summarize, in reality none of you are going to have a perfect GMT connection and do-what-you-what time allocations from your family/jobs/responsibility... So to begin with, play small - at most medium - universe, level 5, low power mods with no new high poly count models wtih 1-2 people who have a couple of hours at least to spare... IF hamachi does not work, plug into the modem directly bypassing router and go direct ip...

edit: with WarZone many of the problems are solved...

If you want to play epic, agree from the beginning - I can't tell you how many games i've started with people and never finished.... you start and never see buddy again... Way too many ... It's nobody's fault - GMT and other responsibilities take priority...

feel free to add up your piece of mind or correct mine...
Relevance is a post hoc phenomenon

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