Philosophy:TW- What’s up with v7.0?

December 6, 2010 in Philosophy:TW

Philosophy:TW banner

Philosophy:TW is a new column that gives commentary on in-game features, updates, and community activities. It’s key feature is called ‘The Tribal Wars Forum’, a group that gives commentary and presents their opinions and responses on various subject matters. Before that feature comes the background guide- it explains what the topic is, gives insight, and presents you (the reader) various questions and bits to think about. This article expresses personal opinions that are not necessarily shared by InnoGames nor the author of the article, but are held by members of the TribalWars.net community.


Many players are wondering- what’s so great about Version 7.0? Well, everything from a large graphical overhaul to a massive increase in speed and usefulness of many interfaces within the game are more than enough to bring any Tribal Wars veteran to tears just thinking about the new features.

Here are some of the most eye-catching ones from a large list posted by .net community manager Morthy:

  • New Awards
  • Mailing Groups
  • Drag-and-Click Navigation on the Map
  • 30×30 Map Size Possible
  • Notebook Tabs/Additional Notebooks
  • New Overviews and Managers
  • Re-arrangeable Queues
  • Militia
  • Hall-of-Fame
  • New Unit and Interface Graphics

(A full list of all the additions and changes can be found here.)

So, what makes a good update? If the goal is to make players happy, then the answer is simple: create updates that both assist players in their game-play or create a more enjoyable and smooth experience. How do we know? Well, I went out and asked a critic for his thoughts on the new updates:

“From what I read many seem good from the start like the rearranging troop queues, it makes it more in parallel to the HQ and should help ease problems with training troops and having to fit a different unit in. Others like the map updates and such seem good as it will improve the look, however not having seen them yet not much can be said aside from the anticipation. Lastly, the updates that introduce new features have some interesting concepts and only time will tell how they turn out. It all comes down to balance and usage in the end, so game-play is the only way to tell if the additions will work out well and be liked or go the way of the army camps. Whichever way it does I’m sure there will always be players that hate the new additions no matter what.” (read more of the critic’s opinions, as well as other player’s opinions, section-by-section, below)

As pointed out by the above player, because Tribal Wars is played by people from every corner of the world and every background and thought-system, it is always possible for there to be a few players that will always say ‘no’.

InnoGames, the creators of Tribal Wars, have focused for the past few months on taking in ideas, formulating methods, creating graphics and lines upon lines of code, and preparing the release for the public (testing, public releases of feature information, etc.). The result? Tribal Wars version 7. However, it isn’t like TW 7 is created overnight… What is this process like and how does it work?

Well, from past experiences of similar changes such as the opening of Grepolis and the release of Army Camps, we can conclude that it starts either on the forums in an ideas thread or in the mind (or in front of the eyes) of a staff member at InnoGames. Once the idea gets seen or recognized by the community or other staff members, it most likely is brought before the developers and ‘big kahuna of TW’ who then ‘flesh out’ the idea and form the groundwork required for programmers and graphic artists to build on. After the programmers and artists finish the changes, it comes through various stages of testing. First, Alpha Testing is done by programmers and designated testers who test the game in a sort of ‘closed-circuit’ system and give direct feedback to the programmers and developers. Second, after the game has reached a level of satisfactory stability, it is introduced to the general community in Beta Testing. There, a much larger band of people, be it ‘outside staff’ (e.g. forum mods on certain servers), valued players (e.g. a contest resulting in the top 200 players being allowed to play the BETA), or anyone on the internet, play and work with the game on a much broader level of contact. Their feedback is generally read by developers, but can be in such a large quantity and sometimes erroneous (because that ‘purple elephant in the corner of the room’, opinion, begins to factor in at this stage) that some feedback is not read.

After Beta Testing, there is marketing work and loads of preparation and such for the final release. Most people would think that the final release is the end of the line, but they are indeed wrong… the process continues with ideas and error/glitch reports. Time moves on, and a new release is idealized once again as the process repeats.

How about we look at this from a different prospective: What are the psychological ‘ups’ of having a battery of releases all at once than random smaller releases? It seems the primary is dominant in the industry of games and programs. Why?

Looking back in time, it always appears man is more fascinated by goliath changes than by tiny ones. Literally, who would want a slightly sharper flint spear-head when they could have one made of copper? This feeling of taking a ‘big’ step, even if done over the same time, is far greater than taking a number of smaller steps. Let’s look at politics for a second. Let’s say everyone wants the government to do ‘x’. Would the people be more pleased if the government made a 20-year plan that will eventually do ‘x’ or if the government immediately took action and completed ‘x’ within 20 days (if they were equally capable of doing both)? Would you be more thrilled to go down the roller coaster slowly over a period of 3 minutes or have to wait 2 ½ minutes before going down the roller coaster quickly over a period of ½ a minute? One could say that seeing a large update is something you wait to see and thus the tension builds. Many small releases keep tension from building and thus keep the crowd quite bored until they grow bored of releases.

Now, to conclude this blog, I will post the section-by-section overview of the changes done by three members of the tribalwars.net community (none of them know the other two or knew that the other two took part in this).

Key to the Commentary (names in quotes are not player-names):

Name: Effect:
‘The Enigma’ Blue Text
dxn99 Green Text
‘The TW Philosopher’ Burgundy Text

Awards
– 11 new Awards
Should make things more interesting for those who look at awards…
I think they are decent… they will give a lot more awards for things to show smaller events that still matter.

Ingame Mail

– Mailing Groups [PA]
Good addition since its done by people anyway.
Mailing groups are decent. They will help specific mailing groups in different areas for different ops.

– Name filtering
Good for searching for an archived mail.
Filtering is also decent…
The mail filtering was much-needed. As a player who tends to get flooded by mails, if I needed to look up an important mail in my inbox I’d have to search through the masses of spam to find the mail I wanted. Now it’s much easier, and I’m particularly grateful for that update.

– Select number of mails to be viewed per page [PA]
Not too helpful but adds consistency since you can everywhere else.

Map
– Context Menu
Looks interesting, will see how useful it is.
The menu… I am looking forward to it, but I am daunted by the fact that it will make the map load a lot slower than it normally is, though I see that that can be deactivated if needed, so it is not a large issue.

– Map dragging
Many a times have a needed this, while not the most helpful, it gives a decent improvement.
The dragging feature, I am indeed excited about… I tried it out in the beta server and I just loved it… it was awesome. :)
The new scrolling map is fantastic. It makes centering the map a lot faster, and for non-premium players in particular (who cannot expand map size), it will be a huge time saver.

– Size customization [PA]
Finally, bigger map sizes!
Sizing is fine.. but for me personally will be unnecessary because the 15×15 for me at this time is perfect it fits my 15″ comp perfectly, but any bigger and there will be scroll bars. However, I realize that there are others with bigger screens, so yeah I don’t mind it at all.

– World Map
I was wondering if they were going to implement this… I wonder how necessary it is… I’ll see how it’s implemented.
The world map will be nice. No need to get to twmaps or twstats I think. I am peeved that the political map will be n/a with larger maps… but I’m not really sure whether that’s the 30×30 or the world maps…

– Marking individual villages [PA]
We can now mark barbs… easier farm villages marking now wont have to remember which barbs I’m farming.
The individual marking system… It will be nice when you are focused on a specific cluster of enemy villages or internal… whatever you like to noble. :)

– Highlighting tribes from their profile [PA]
Makes highlighting tribes much easier and gives more consistency with other similar options.
This will be fine…

– Load time improvements
Always good.

– Mobile Improvements [PA]
Good for mobile users.
The mobile version I was recently excited about so I can get on the internet on my itouch when I don’t feel like switching on the laptop.

Noble Planner
– Claims filtering
More ways of filtering, searching gets easier.
The claims filtering is decent… I will use it because currently I have to use a script to get to the claims page where it lists all claims by yourself and only yourself.

– Exporting
Can’t think of too big a use, but could have its uses.
Exporting is fine I guess… a suggestion would be to put the noble planner to the baron status and above only because it is reaaaaly easy to get an account in an enemy tribe and relay claims to see what are proper nobling targets. I suggest letting all members claim but only barons and above see who claimed then them. To normal members… it can be like ‘Error: this village has been already claimed’.

– ‘Select all’ checkbox
Meh… guess lists should have one.

Notebook
– Tabs [PA]
About time… mine always gets so long and cluttered.
Notebooks, I think, will be very fun to play around with different continents/different ops. Very fun. :)
I’m glad for the tabbed notebook. I often use the notebook to remind me about attack times, leaving sitter instructions, keeping copies of tribe profiles etc – Now that I can split them all up, it will mean I don’t have to scroll down an over-stacked notebook page to find what I want.

– A limited version of the notebook is now available for all players.
Makes free a bit easier and gives a taste of the notebook.

Overviews [PA]
– Demolishing & Cancelling from Buildings Overview
The building/demolishing will be VERY VERY VERY useful for those who are under heavy attack and are being demolished quite a lot.

– Researching from Research Overview
The researching method will be fun because before… it is very easy to build nukes in villages that have no offensive units researched because it’s last owners preferred it to be defense.. and didn’t bother to research the offense.

– More nobleman information on Troops Overview

– Village Points shown on Group Overview

General Section Comments:
I guess it makes the overviews more useful, the real test is how its implemented because there is so much on the overviews already, so hopefully its not too crowded a look.
The highlighting of the villages in the overviews section is a bit useless I think, but I have no bad thing to say against it… who knows.. others may find it useful.

Premium [PA] obviously
– Account Manager
All I can say here is that this would certainly make things easier and allow for better micro management while at large scale. Less of a need to become OCD with all the timing (the account manager being an extra purchase cost may or may not adding more favor to those with bigger pockets, will see how this works out).
The account manager I think will give a better advantage and I hope to god the one who donates it monthly to me and to the fund (you are a godsend: i love you) will allow myself and specific players get 20 pp extra to help their accs.
The account manager is extremely helpful, but of course the extra costs mean that it’s less accessible for players. It will help those seriously committed to the game out – But ultimately, I’m not sure it will get much use because of the price.

– Attack notifications
The attack notification will be awesome because I tend to log on and off and only on if people alert me about prem/nukes/def needing to be sent… or incomings, so it will be nifty.

– Village Manager

– Troop Manager
Better.

– Market Manager
Better as well.

Recruitment
– Rearrange queues in Barracks, Stable and Workshop
Finally adds consistency to go with the hq, which was probably the test run for this grander idea.

Reports
– Mass Forwarding [PA]
True mass forwarding :O
Mass forwarding in reports will be fun to play around with because at this time it’s very tedious to forward large groups of reports to specific people, you had to do it with tabs before the update. now it’s with publications and it’s even better.

– ‘Support Defences’ Report Sorting
Definitely useful, easier report reading and management.
The sorting of internal defense and external will be very fun.

– ‘Show All’ option for Public Reports
Cool… Publishing made a little easier.

Tribal Forums
– Mass post deletion
Could be useful, but hey saboteurs- things got simpler for you!

– ‘Close voting on’ option for polls
polls should be able to close, so good.

– Your poll choice highlighted
We need to know what we voted for? And sitters too? Could be good, could be bad if a sitter sees you voted for something they don’t approve of, who knows… ^_^

– Condensed page navigation
Thank you!

Tribe
– “Tribal Wars”
Wait… We can have official wars as far as the game is concerned and it can track the statistics, nice. maybe this will help settle some disputes of who is winning. Looking forward to how this changes game-play.
War declaration will be decent… as it will not allow any further sneak attacks on allies.
The new tribe wars feature is interesting – But there isn’t a lot of info about the statistics that will be tracked using this feature. If it also looks at players deleting and leaving the tribe, it will be very helpful. I’m holding onto the hope that it does, as the tribe overview now displays player deletion (And if they can track them this way, I can’t see why it wouldn’t be tracked with the tribe war menu).

Units
– Militia
A new unit! *gasp* only time will tell how its received. Adds an interesting game-play factor but hopefully its implemented and balanced well. This will definitely affect the beginning stages of the world and how late starters can attack and defend against those with a head start.
The militia I think will be fine for younger worlds. However, I only play on an older world so… I don’t really think this will be useful…
The militia are an intriguing addition. Their most practical use seems to be killing start-up micro-farming parties, because of their instantaneous build time and their stats being geared towards killing cavalry (Same as spearmen, I believe). I think, however, as the game progresses we will see more and more uses for these units as players discover them.

Village Notes [PA]
– Notes can be added to any village

– Note icon on map

– Note icon on Overviews

General Section Comments:
Previous village notes weren’t too helpful, but this definitely has better promise for a variety of things and allows a more complete way to sort info on villages.
Village notes- I think are useless because it is pointless when you have thousands of villages……. but for younger worlds with several villages….. it will be decent.
The new ability to write up village notes for any village has a lot of potential. Assuming sitters can see the notes too, you can easily mark information about other villages for your sitters/co-players to see – They can quickly pick up the information just by looking at the map. You could mark which villages are farms early on, and if you need to send different troop amounts to account for wall levels. You can note each individual players known skills (Say if they dodge, backtime etc) so that your sitter knows how wary of the target they can be – These are just a few of many potential uses for this new addition to the game, and it is an addition I am very excited about.

Website
– Hall of Fame
Ego boasting anyone? Although, I suppose it’s a good idea.
The Hall of Fame will be fun to read about when I am bored so I may see who is the best in all aspects of the game.

– Milestones
The spots for the incentive above, get there and get honored.

– More statistics
Who doesn’t love more statistics?

– Warning for new players attempting to join old worlds
Gives newbies more of a idea what they are getting into there I guess…
I like the “warning” message they’ve put in place for players starting a world that has been open for some time. I imagine that a lot of newer players have signed up to the game at an inopportune time and have been discouraged after they had the stuffing kicked out of them right away. If the TW team follows it up by displaying an estimated start date for the next world (Indeed it varies, but a rough indication of when to come back and check the world start) then we may see an increase in players.

Worlds
– The geographical size of worlds can be adjusted
Now this seems like it may be nice, more adjustable and quicker worlds, as well as closer combat from one side to the other. Interested to see how it works out…
World sizes will be fun, for I may join a very short world (without the speed of speed worlds) which may last only a few months in lax years, but only after the current world I am on has long since ended… maybe to regroup with friends.
The idea of smaller world sizes is an interesting one. Maps as small as 50 x 50 (2500 squares, a lot of which will still be filled with barbs/map decorations) will be tempting worlds to play for the players that enjoy the startup stages of the game but dislike staying for prolonged periods of time. We all know how playing the same game for many years at a time is draining, and smaller map sizes are the answer to that. Good call, TW team.

Displayed Information
– Milliseconds shown in more places
Thank you, took long enough, so useful.

– Incoming Support Icon [PA]
Not sure how useful, but definitely adds some consistency to go with the incoming icon. For complete consistency adds in incoming free sends so you don’t get surprise resources (and fill up ^_^).

– “Request Support” – ‘Simple’ output [PA]
Not sure how useful, a more customizable request may be better, but we will see.

– ‘Commandable Troops’ displayed on map popup [PA]
Now we will know what troops are to use and not click on a village with support intending on using the troops to attack and find none!

– Player name shown in front of supported village in Troops Overview [PA]
This is definitely a big help in figure out whose support is whose!

– Coordinates added to “Tag Tool” output [PA]
Thank you, better game tagging.

– Haul information visible on Commands Overview [PA]
Nice, thanks, now we can know what our runs bring us without dozens of clicks.

General Section Comments:
Displayed info will be much more helpful on the whole, again with the heavily attacked accounts.

Miscellaneous Optimizations
– BB-codes case insensitivity
Yay, never really a problem for me, but bbcodes should be case insensitive in my mind, not like the case sensitive ones were difficult…
BB-codes are fine… not really an improvement in my opinion because it is like that in many web-wide forums.

– BB-codes allowed in Tribe Welcome Message
Time for you guys to spice up those welcome messages. time to go nuts… and hey, look below a limit of 1000.

– Number of BB-code brackets may now exceed 500
Up to 1000… wait, who uses that much?

– Market ‘shippable’ resources recalculation
Ahh… less mental math… wait you guys need calculators? :S

– Add Friends from their player profile
I was wondering why this wasn’t already there…

– Group change box always shown when scrolling in village list popup [PA]
Better ease when needing it.

– Dropdown box added to the Academy’s “Mint Coins” page [PA]
I guess it makes it easier but the scripts for it work just as well or better in my opinion.

General Section Comments:
The miscellaneous optimizations will be decent.

Graphics and Design
– Game redesign

– Combat pictures

– New unit icons

– “Night” graphics extended to map

– Option to deactivate the last 3 changes listed above

– ‘Settings’ options place changes

General Section Comments:
Progress towards a better look, will the graphics be a hit or will it crash and burn? Only time will tell.
The graphics of the website I think might become somewhat annoying for those with lesser than great internet connections…. there maybe should be an option to turn off the images… but only the big ones…

General Update Comments:

From what I read many seem good from the start like the rearranging troop queues, it makes it more in parallel to the HQ and should help ease problems with training troops and having to fit a different unit in. Others like the map updates and such seem good as it will improve the look, however not having seen them yet not much can be said aside from the anticipation. Lastly, the updates that introduce new features have some interesting concepts and only time will tell how they turn out. It all comes down to balance and usage in the end, so gameplay is the only way to tell if the additions will work out well and be liked or go the way of the army camps. Whichever way it does go, I’m sure there will always be players that hate the new additions no matter what. (excerpt shown in article)

Overall.. I’m a bit peeved that after a few weeks of the 7.0 update… InnoGames STILL hasn’t declared a release date for 7.0 on all worlds…

Overall, I think the updates seen in Version 7.0 all fall under one category. They’re all collectively small updates that don’t affect the game itself too much, but each one has a lot of potential to make the game a lot simpler and easier to work with. We will see many different uses for these updates over time as players experiment with them.

Thanks for Reading!

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Thanks for reading!

-Samulis, World 9 Blogger