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Old Jul 15th, 2019, 10:28 AM
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Feedback thread

This is a feedback thread designed to help the organizers of 2020 Outplay better design the tournament. Feel free to discuss your thoughts and ideas in the OOC thread and post any thoughts and recommendations on this thread.

Please note that the goal of this tournament is to reward the best PLAYER. This includes all aspects of PbP, including effectiveness, ingenuity, character development and writing skills. This is the one thing that will NOT change from year to year -- and we would ask that any recommendations made have the tournament goals in mind.

This is not to be used as a complaint thread. Any posts that contain disagreements with the decisions of the GM's or the judging will be deleted from this thread. However, we are definitely open to ideas and suggestions on things we could do to improve the experience of the tournament.

We are asking that each person submit no more than ONE post on this thread, although it could be as long as you would like it to be and you may edit it as you see fit. Both players and readers are welcome to put suggestions here.

There will not be any responses to recommendations from the organizers on this thread.
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Old Jul 15th, 2019, 10:45 AM
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Outplay 2019 Feedback -- Yuul1: A set/highly 'encouraged' site background for Outplay. Preferably mandatory in the case of the judges for when they are judging. Of course, as the judges they would be the ones to come together and pick which one.
  • Example: Drake/Parchment/Shadow/etc.
The purpose of this is to have a set viewing standard for which contestants can design their posts and how they are formatted and spaced. Judging points are heavily based on style, and how one views/reads a post has a hearty impact on that. I've been using the one I am now since selecting it almost from when I first joined the site(ten years ago), and another friend has been using their own different one for twelve years now. Out of curiosity and general randomness I asked why there was bolded yellow text in his posts when it wasn't readable that way and learned that it was completely different for his own site settings. Naturally I browsed through a few more of them I noticed a far more relevant and important fact, in my opinion of course, with regards to formatting.
  • Formatting Issue: Paragraph thickness and spacing.
The different viewing backgrounds/settings have different, sometimes vastly so, posting widths. For example, the one I use has posts go from one side of the full screen to the other, others have less. In the case of one in particular it is outright halved. I am bringing all this up as one particular judge's constructive feedback was that some of my own paragraphs were rather thick to the point of getting close to being 'walls of text', so in my opinion a set viewing setting standard for the judges(that they communally decide amongst themselves) that we contestants, and heck the spectators as well, can all be informed of is in fact a rather important matter. In a contest such as this, style can be nearly everything.

2: An 'Around the Campfire' Mini-round. Think of it as Round 0.5, where for a few days after the applicants are chosen and split into their first groups, those groups get a thread for three or four days to properly introduce and interact with each each other, and explore their motivations and personalities. The only DM post required would be the intro and outro post, unless their character wishes to react to the conversation. In this round no one would be eliminated, but the judges could perhaps have and dole out an amount of points up to half the judge points they'd have in a normal round. IE: a total pool of 5 per player per judge instead of 10. This would serve the following purposes.
  • Getting in character: A warm up round to better get in touch with their character going forward without too much on the line. Also providing a starting point for character development, which is one of the important things Squeak mentioned above.
  • Getting to know your fellows: Being introduced and possible getting the start on possible future interactions with the others. Learning who your character likes, who they potentially trust, who they can't stand, etc. Additionally this is excellent for the spectators for much the same reason.
  • Early Judge Feedback: Getting constructive criticism from the judges in regards to writing style, formatting, and other smaller nuances that can be improved, as well as what you're doing well.
  • Fun: Plain and simple, it would be enjoyable for the competitors. This season we opened right into the frying pan before being promptly dumped into the fire. The best we managed were some one-sided introductions in our opening posts that all felt rather flat one way or another.
I know this would have helped for those of us in the Pathfinder Bracket but I imagine the others would have enjoyed something like this as well. Regardless of whatever else I put on this last, this is likely to be the number one thing I'd love to be implemented or considered for next year's season.

Last edited by Yuul; Jul 28th, 2019 at 05:02 PM.
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Old Jul 15th, 2019, 10:50 AM
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suggestions for next time
1) tactical maps whenever possible I found a lot of my questions involved where things were, the distance of something, etc

2) the mission was designed for 4 players I am guessing as the bracket was expect to be 16 and the D&D thread seemed to have 4 per, if less than 4 players mission should be adjusted accordingly, only if possible or it makes sense. Reading final post may not truly be an issue since there was no penalty for not saving a child, but it does play into how we think our characters might act.

3) for possible class balancing as some classes have their bluffs built in vs being activated, possibly include a buff round previous to start of actual game play rounds, players cant move or effect anything but themselves draw a weapon, drink a potion, cast a spell etc

4) The fact that round 1 was the skill round I think should have been more clearly laid out, for instance take this post HERE, it would have been a perfect opportunity to say x is skill, y is combat round, etc, there was no mention of it in round 0 thread for pathfinder apps, the only place it was mentioned was HERE hidden in the spoiler (which is fine there was other stuff in there as well) but even then its followed by "Combat is certainly an option here". Four rounds in somebody mentions this isn't the combat round and I am rethinking my life choices, possibly for next time maybe the skill round shouldn't be camouflaged like a combat round round or if combat is an option let it be a possible way of winning it but the player is slimming their chances in the actual combat round.

5) Judging by Squeaks post I think there was an unrealistic expectation of what type of post is expected in a 6 second game time round, you are expecting the players to do a POTM quality post (which are almost never ever combat round posts, and are usually not done daily for 7 days straight). Set a time for six seconds and think, do and act in that six second period tell me what you truthfully come up with in such a short period of time. Most of you like initial posts by characters but it was the only one where we could really add some back story or converse with others (one sidedly cause we only got one post and we can't assume what others would say), so an alternative way of doing that is to have a couple posts before the skill / combat rounds and then at the end give us a couple posts as well outside of combat and we can give the full experience and allow our characters to shine through a bit more.

6) lastly, at least up to end of this round, I question the suggestion / statement that we should have just ran in and out grabbing children to maximize points. My logic being if you came across a couple dogs terrorizing a small group of children would you grab two of the kids and run to safety and hope the others weren't viciously mauled before you got back, or would you if armed attempted to attack or scare of the dogs? I would have a tough time like my character in grabbing and running but it sounds like we were penalized if we made that choice cause it didn't fit the expectation.
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Last edited by OneDarkness; Jul 19th, 2019 at 12:29 AM.
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Old Jul 24th, 2019, 05:51 AM
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Last edited by cchrome77; Jul 25th, 2019 at 05:21 AM.
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Old Jul 28th, 2019, 10:44 PM
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Old Aug 20th, 2019, 09:11 PM
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An Idea
This idea just came to me, and I'm unsure of its validity for Outplay.

My Idea:
Instead of sticking with just the base core system(5e DnD, Pathfinder 1e, etc.) might you think about using any available supplements. For example, I've come across Star Wars, Steampunk, & Fallout supplements for D&D 5th Edition and there might be more out there. I know people would be giddy for a Steampunk themed Outplay. I have only played with Pathfinder a little bit, so I don't know if there are similar supplements for the system out there.

This might make it harder for judges to make proper rulings as it is 3rd party stuff and I will understand if the answer is "NO!"

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Old Sep 2nd, 2019, 04:38 PM
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Slightly late feedbackI greatly enjoyed Outplay my second time in it, and mostly have positive feedback:

One thing I love about Outplay is not knowing what to expect, and I think that was kept up well this year -- I didn't at all expect that Berthe's increased speed would wind up being perhaps her most valuable trait; and the last round seemed a bit different and I don't think I played it well but really liked the concept and execution in spite of that. So, I'd argue a bit against it being made more clear that something was "the skills" round -- strongly believe there should be ways to use skills effectively, but against there being a format set enough that everyone knows there will be "a skill round" and "a combat round" etc. etc. I am very much for experimentation in format.

Impressed at how many people y'all had the first round, and work put in in general -- it was clearly huge.

Scoring: Figuring this out is a major headache and you did very well. I remember in 2017 there was some general muttering about it seeming opaque and too personal to the judges -- you've obviously worked to avoid that with points for children saved / damage -- but these always come with costs. I wonder if the balance between aspects was off first two rounds, with too many "objective" points as opposed to writing/character, plus it skews behavior / makes for wanting to play for points when there are "objective" points; on top of probably work for you to come up with numbers in places that always seem a bit arbitrary -- maybe better/easier to do more holistic grading within several categories, that you can then take a weighted average of? Trying to find a method that achieves balance between categories and satisfying feedback+explanation for players without becoming too much work / too many arbitrary numbers to try to be fair / skewing behavior too much.

Only pang of disappointment I felt the whole game was hearing judges in final hadn't read all the posts from previous rounds -- makes "character development" in some sense difficult. But I quickly got over it -- it's a ton to read, I didn't quite manage to read all the pathfinder myself; I was being a bit precious.

Possible idea: I'd be curious to see a version where the story was a bit more developed / something other than "a competition"; would help role-play and working together aspects, I think, but perhaps a bit harder to do?

Otherwise, I have some vague musings about "what's the point of Outplay?" overall. Mostly I don't take "finding the best" very seriously, and just look at it as a bunch of fun, which it does very well, at least for for me. I wouldn't want the competitive feeling to get any stronger, and would be happy to see it dialed back. In many ways Outplay feels like it's good for the site -- you get to see and play with a lot of people you might not otherwise, I think it builds a sense of wider community. But it has some cost for the community, too -- competitiveness can cause stress (didn't seem too bad this year, at least), and the intensity distracts players/judges from their other games. I have a love/hate relationship with the intensity; in some ways I think it would be better for everyone if it was dialed back, but it wouldn't be quite the same then, something would be lost.

Just talking out loud here; a lot of RPGers love that there's not really competition, and the competitive side of Outplay keeps some people away.
Eventually: DMing an Eberron 5e game...
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