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TOPIC: In depth feedback, as requested by in game GMs

In depth feedback, as requested by in game GMs 4 years 7 months ago #1

FIRST: Why the heck am I allowed to create a user account with the same name as someone else? Because I just wrote this post, hit Submit, and it told me I'm not allowed to use someone else's name. So, I can MAKE the ACCOUNT, but I cannot use it. So I have now made a THIRD account, hoping no one else has this name, in an attempt to post this:

I hope this is read by and taken into consideration by the staff that runs TD. It contains feedback that pertains to both why myself and my girlfriend play TD, as well as why we are only doing one, or maybe zero, events next year.

I discussed some of this with both the staff assisting at character creation/gearing, as well as the GMs inside the dungeon after we completed rooms, and multiple times I was asked to post my thoughts here in the hopes it would be read.

First, before anything else: You need to allow people to change their names. I wrote this post then realized it was posted under my REAL name, as when I signed up, it asked what my name was, and what my username is. Well, when asked that, I put my real name in for 'Whats your name'. Unfortunately, it uses your REAL name and not your USERNAME for your forum name it seems. I had to make a new account as I'm not cool with my real name being posted on a forum. Hence the new 1st level account posting this. Anyway...

A short background: I've been to Gen Con about 7-8 times over the span of 11 or so years. Love D&D, love board and card games, and I feel at home at Gen Con. Played TD for the first time 3 years ago, and just this weekend completed my 5th dungeon (survivor all 5 times!)

And of those 5 times, I'd say only 2 were truly enjoyable.

The BIGGEST issue myself and my girlfriend have had, and the number one reason we are only doing one session, and maybe/likely none at all next year? The absolutely horrific way that groups and classes are assigned. In other words: utterly random, unless you have 7+ other friends both going to Gen Con and willing to drop $50 each on the event.

TD 1: The first time we played, we had an absolute blast. We were two total newbs, myself having lots of D&D experience, and my GF not knowing a darn thing. We were lucky as hell to get in with a good group who helped us out with rules, lent us some tokens, and even gave us a few to keep (I still play a druid to this day mostly because the first group gave me a greater mistletoe token). We showed up about 5 mins before the listed time, and got stuck with the 2 "unwanted" classes, rogue and druid. Luckily, my GF loves the puzzle boxes, and I'm pretty flexible in what I play. So it worked out and it was a great time.

TD 2: Gen Con 2014, we sign up for both events, mad that we only did one in 2013. Given we are total newbs, and barely have any worthwhile gear, we head over early to make sure we get the classes we want. The group was, however, a cluster puck of, well, I'll be honest, assholes. We always do the puzzle dungeon, as neither my GF or I really care about shuffleboarding our way to more treasure tokens. The mish-mash of random people in our group, who refused to listen to a damn thing, worked on puzzles solo, and general rudeness made the entire experience pretty bad.

TD 3: We show up the next day and try again. This time, even though arriving pretty early, the Druid was taken and I was the Paladin. GF still got the Rogue though (seems no one ever wants to be a rogue?). This group was better than the day before, but it seemed they mostly knew each other, and my GF and I were ignored for the most part. Our input on puzzles was not considered, healing was demanded, and when my GF took the treasure from the box instead of a puzzle hint, for a puzzle, mind you, they didn't care to hear our input on in the first place, a few grumbles were overheard, one of which was "selfish" which had me fuming.

Next Gen Con 2015 rolls around.

TD 4: It's funny, as I write this, I just realized part of the problem... I was about to write how TD 4 was a blast and we had a GREAT time, when I realized that the times we truly enjoyed TD were the times where we ran with new/newer groups. This time, I think my GF and I were the most experienced people in there. Another couple were first timers, and in homage to MY first time, my GF and I lent them a bunch of tokens to help beef them up. We figured out the puzzles, some in the nick of time, everyone helping and participating (except for the cleric, who got paralyzed by the carrion crawler in the first room, then literally sat in the corner by himself until we finished the room, then sulked through the rest of the dungeon because I didn't immediately neutralize his poison, knowing that something worse was likely coming - which did, in a lter room). On a personal note, it really added to the fun that I was the one who figured out the trick to the puzzle, having noticed how the names of the drow houses and the colors of the lights illuminating them were related.

That being said, one moderate complaint about the Underdark one: We signed up for the puzzle version. We had 3 combat rooms and 4 puzzle rooms. When the 3rd combat room happened, a good number of us started questioning if we actually were in the right dungeon. TD guys, seriously, if I sign up for the puzzle version, don't make almost half of the rooms combat related.

TD 5: Another disappointing run. This time we got there early to grab the classes we wanted. And waited. And waited. And there were 8 empty seats until minutes before the start time. I actually asked someone what happens if it's just us two. But finally, a group of 8 enter. 8 that knew each other. 8 that played together. Ugh.

"Where's the druid?"

I say I've got it.

"Is the rogue taken?" (A first for us)

My girlfriend, not enjoying confrontation, says she has it already. Well, I dont have 100% recollection of everything that happened then, but over the next few minutes, we heard a combination of sighing, "Well now what?", "But I'm only set up to be a rogue", and general complaining that made my GF and I so uncomfortable, I actually said to her "If I could get my $100 back I'd leave. This is going to suck." She did not disagree.

And in typical "We are not part of your group" fashion, we felt pretty damn left out of a bunch of rooms. The first puzzle room, with the magnetic sticks... I was the one who noticed they were magnetic and stuck end to end. We could attach them, and alternate them long/short, then short/long, and reinforce them with the "scrolls" in the room and make a chute. Nope. That was a dumb idea. Lets take the poles, grab the sphere with them all together, and shuffle/carry it across the room. Yes, we were successful. Yes, we were ignored. Yes, my girlfriend asked if we could leave. She did the puzzle box and took the treasure. I asked, out of curiosity, what was the clue? Use the scrolls to reinforce the poles, basically. *sigh*

In the last room, as we were puzzling over what the bone and shield and mitten etc meant, my GF worked on the puzzle box. I told the group not to worry, she kicks ass at these, only bombed one in all the 5 dungeons shes been a rogue.

The "I didn't get to be the rogue" pipes in: "I've never failed one."

In the end we did well - not all of them were jackasses. Celebrated with the guy in their group who had a lightbulb appear over his head as he figured the puzzle out. (We did have to brute force the last one, not being able to figure out what dog, mastiff, great dane, meant. oops. Canine.)

Our experiences in TD have been so hit or miss, and the game is SO DAMN EXPENSIVE, we likely won't play again until we know we won't be paired up with other people who ruin our experience.

Newbies there to have fun make the game fun. Experienced players there to win, to get those treasure tokens (we had one guy in the last room touch the pool after a guess say "Don't care if I die, as long as I get that treasure token"), make the endeavor a miserable waste of $50.

I get to go to Gen Con once a year. It's 4 days. I need to eat and sleep, and also catch a plane on Sunday. That gives me roughly 40 hours of Gen Con time that I get to see the dealer hall, people watch, playtest games, chat with great people, and have a blast. Having 3 of those 40 hours wasted in a frustrating game that cost me $100 (my GF and I) is horrible.

Paying another $100 to RISK losing 3 hours, nearly 10%, of my precious Gen Con time, to do something that's really only worked out to being truly fun about 35% of the time? Hell no.

TD administration: You seriously need to fix the grouping system. You either need to sell classes in advance, so no one shows up and gets shitty and makes others feel bad, or at a minimum, in the event description, and in post-registration emails, tell players they MUST sign into the TD website, and fill out a form reserving their class or they risk not getting it. Sign into the site and your class is already taken? Allow them to change time slots. Allow them to message whoever already took the class and discuss swapping. Something. Finding out last minute you cannot do what you wanted to SUCKS. Having someone ELSE find out, and be shitty about it, REALLY sucks.

TD players: Please, it's a game. Have fun. I love Gen Con. I feel at home there. A few years back the Gen Con badge lanyard said "Welcome home". I sort of teared up a little reading that when I got there. Because it's true.

I've been a gamer and a nerd and a geek and an "outcast" and been picked last for the kickball team my entire life (less so now as an adult, obviously). I've been picked on and laughed at for my interests and hobbies.

Just like almost every single other person at Gen Con.

Gen Con feels like home because almost everyone else there has been the target, the victim, the nerd or the loser at least once in their life, and they know how it feels, and they know it sucks, and they would never treat someone else like that.

It's why Gen Con feels like home to me. 50,000 of my closest friends whom I've never met. Only place where you are routinely bumped into, jostled, and unintentionally hit in the head with a foam battleaxe, and hear "I'm sorry, excuse me" EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Why do these awesome people have to turn into assholes once they enter a TD event? Again - it's not everyone - but in more events that I've been in that not, have we had a terrible time because of the groups we've been randomly set up with.

Until I have a group of 6 or more with me, I'm likely not ever playing TD again. Which sucks. It's a blast. I love playing.

I just can't stand the random people that ruin the fun.

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Re: In depth feedback, as requested by in game GMs 4 years 7 months ago #2

Thanks for the in depth feedback. I am going to add a couple of points for education/clarification.

There is a system for determining classes. If I get this wrong someone will certainly correct me. If two people want the same class and they are both 3rd level (player experience not character level) then they roll (d20) - high wins. If only one is 3rd level player experience they win by default.

Naturally, this does not solve the problem of the loser being disappointed. That is why when you buy 2 tickets for a TD event it is highly recommended you come here and post the event and try to locate the other 8 members. I supposed it would be better to have an email sent to the ticket holders with the event forum so they could find it easier. This allows all those class discussions to occur prior to the start of GC and no one is surprised.

Having said that I can tell you that I have been RPG gaming for over 35 years and no rule will ever prevent jerks from ruining a game. The best thing you can do is try to do some preparation to avoid some jerks.

We have a regular group of eight that we normally need 2 extra and would be happy to include you in a run next year. I will warn you tickets are hard to come by for a 10 person team but if we get them you are very welcome - we love new players.

Ed
Useful Links:
TD Character Creator
Amorgen's Excel Char Gen Tool
Token DataBase
Talking TD Podcast

TD Accomplishments:
Member of the first team to survive Epic True Grind
1st Solo NM as Poly Druid
Proud member of Gas Station Sushi
Don't Nerf Our Tokens!

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Re: In depth feedback, as requested by in game GMs 4 years 7 months ago #3

While I empathize with spending that money and not having a good time, you can't really put the onus on TD to fix a problem which only exists if people are idiots. You think if you reserved your class beforehand and they didn't, the conversation would have been any different?

The party card thing has been how TD has done class selection forever (at least since 2008 when i ran my first adventure). If that person wanted to they could have requested a roll-off for the class but it sounds like they didn't invoke that rule and just let you have the class. Obviously the comments aren't necessary but it sounds like it could have been worse.

Some people suck and yes it's a gamble that some of them might be in your group. If this possibility ruins your Gen Con then maybe you shouldn't run an adventure next year. But I don't see anything that can be remedied by TD as a company. I think you will find that a majority of people think the way class selection is done now is just fine.

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Re: In depth feedback, as requested by in game GMs 4 years 7 months ago #4

As for the class selection, d20 thing: That solves nothing. In fact, I believe it makes it worse. My girlfriend gets there first, get the rogue, someone else shows up and takes it from her? That will surely make the entire quest enjoyable.

I have no problem saying this: If someone gets there first, and takes a class, and you get there after, and take it from them, you're an asshole. And if I'm in the group where that happens, I'll be sure to let you, and everyone else there, in every room, know you're an asshole.

Like I said at the end of the OP - Gen Con is like coming home to friends and family for me. WHY does an event have to turn some of them into jerks? The time I played and didn't get the Druid I wanted - I thought, well, that sucks, but the Paladin might be cool.

As for class pre-selection not being better - sure - you can't 100% fix it, but if you KNOW BEFOREHAND that you can't be the Rogue, you can at least try and find a new time slot if possible, prepare a new class, or at a minimum, cool off about the disappointment enough that you're not ruining someone else's fun.

As for the majority of people thinking it's ok, first, thats hyperbole and a guess, so stating that you think I'll find that true is silly and without any merit. You cannot say that without actually asking.

Edit: Oh, and Ed, that would be fantastic. Maybe I'll be more active here throughout the year. If I knew I was going with a team that was not a risk of ruining my fun, I'd absolutely play again.

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Last edit: by NoOneElsesName.

Re: In depth feedback, as requested by in game GMs 4 years 7 months ago #5

I will second what Ed said. The last two years I have not bought any tickets before hand, instead choosing to find groups that could use my preferred class (Rogue). I also do a pair of greedy sealed runs, which are runs in which we only bring tokens that get you more treasure and then build from the ten packs with which we start. These are usually my favorite runs each year as I there is zero pressure and I usually get to try a new class.

Please do not allow a few bad apples to spoil your fun. Also, if this happens again, please feel free to share your experience so we can all do our best to avoid those players.

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Re: In depth feedback, as requested by in game GMs 4 years 7 months ago #6

  • Harlax
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I'll say what I always say as a coach.

First. There are rules for character selection. But it's best to work it out like adults, with the good of the party being the key factor.

Second. Be willing to try something new. (I got "stuck" on one run playing a class I normally wouldn't play this year. I could have sulked, but I went with it, ran the dungeon, and had fun.)

Something I don't say as a coach.

If someone already has a class I am thoroughly geared for and they are not at all geared for and they will not yield, am I the jerk or are they? Especially if I have a bunch of tokens I can lend to power up another class. Having said that, with my primary build, I can easily go dwarf fighter, fighter, Paladin or cleric with minor tweaks. So I'm pretty flexible.

Most of my runs are prearranged now and that relieves a lot of this stress.
D&D teaches all the important lessons in life - the low blow, the cheap shot, the back stab, the double cross. - Jerry Marsischky

Let them trap us. We have our swords. - Elric of Melnibone.

You try to get them to play the game, but all they want to do is play the rules. - Ardak Kumerian

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend - Faramir

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Last edit: by Harlax.

Re: In depth feedback, as requested by in game GMs 4 years 7 months ago #7

balthasar wrote: I will second what Ed said. The last two years I have not bought any tickets before hand, instead choosing to find groups that could use my preferred class (Rogue).

Yeah, that would be ideal for you. Just lurk on the forums looking for a group that bought the entire 10 ticket run (and there are a lot that do) that needs to fill two (class selection will hurt the odds a bit but it is doable if you are more flexible). My experience Rogue is taken a lot. The one class that seems to have the lowest occupancy is Monk but it is rising. Also Wizard/Fighter classes because there are two have a better chance of not being occupied.

I can tell you I ran most of my runs this year with strangers and mostly new players. Made a bunch of friends and I just ran whatever class no one wanted. Luckily most times it was Druid and I can heal really well to keep them alive (PM me if you want any Druid tips).

Yes the rolling d20 to take a class could be horrible but it is the rules as they are written today. The same could be said for the 6 group party that loses the roll to your GF and they don't get to play the Rogue (jerks getting their just reward).

Best to use the forums to find a good group for next year whether you own the tickets or not. If you can't find the remainder of the tickets I suggest cross over classes (Monk/Ranger work well), Barbarian/Fighters/Paladin, and Wizards all can share a lot of tokens.

Ed
Useful Links:
TD Character Creator
Amorgen's Excel Char Gen Tool
Token DataBase
Talking TD Podcast

TD Accomplishments:
Member of the first team to survive Epic True Grind
1st Solo NM as Poly Druid
Proud member of Gas Station Sushi
Don't Nerf Our Tokens!

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Last edit: by MasterED.

Re: In depth feedback, as requested by in game GMs 4 years 7 months ago #8

Normally when we are in our PUG groups we will see if our favored classes are taken, and if so, we see if we can work things out with them if they are willing to switch classes. We have in the past geared out players in other roles, and this year I just went in and asked them to pick classes before me and tried something new.

The system isn't perfect, and most people get around the class selection by buying out runs with their friends and organizing before hand. Also if we don't have all the tickets on a run we post on the forums to see who may have them, which doesn't always work.

Having class selection when you buy the tickets would be difficult at best since there are people that buy out the whole runs, and would mean the system would have to be changed by GenCon. TD is one of the only places you can buy multiple tickets for the same event slot with just one badge. So not sure if GenCon would go the extra step.

I am sorry to hear that you had multiple bad experiences with this,
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Re: In depth feedback, as requested by in game GMs 4 years 7 months ago #9

NoOneElsesName wrote: As for the class selection, d20 thing: That solves nothing. In fact, I believe it makes it worse. My girlfriend gets there first, get the rogue, someone else shows up and takes it from her? That will surely make the entire quest enjoyable.


"First come, first serve" isn't a great way to do things either, though. A lot of people have events scheduled in very rigid time slots, and might not be able to get to the TD area with time to spare before their run.

By your own admission, time at GenCon is at a premium, and asking people to show up for TD super early just so they can claim the class they want before anyone else is not only a waste of their time, but unfair to anyone else who might not be able to show up that early due to another event.

I've never had classes become an issue during runs that I've PUG'd into, but when it comes right down to it, a die roll is the only real fair way to determine who gets what if the players can't come to a consensus.

But in general, I get your frustration. And if you look around the forums a little bit, you'll see that there's a TON of discussion going on about hardcore players ruining the experiences of new players, unknowingly or otherwise. It's definitely an issue that's receiving a lot of scrutiny right now, and you should definitely speak up on some of those threads.

As a hardcore player myself, I'm a bit taken aback that this issue is so widespread. I don't PUG many TD runs (I run with the same 10-man group every year, for the most part), but the few times I did I took extra care to not overpower the new players, or ruin their fun by ignoring them, solving the puzzles for them, or excluding them in any way. Quite the opposite, if someone looks like they're not engaged, I actively try to get them involved. And I know I'm not the only person who looks out for the "new blood." We want more people in the TD community, and you don't grow by alienating players.

I recall one year where I got into a group doing a Puzzle run that I'd already been on. I had a great deal of fun just standing off to the side watching the new players poke and prod things, and having quiet discussions with the DMs. Then, if (and only if) they got completely stumped, I'd throw out a clue or point out something that they might have missed. Only when the 1 minute warning blew did I ask them if they wanted me to step in.

All that being said, you're always going to run into people whose social skills are.....lacking. And that's unfortunate. If you feel like your group is actively excluding you, get the DMs involved. Tell them that your group is ignoring you and that it's affecting your experience. Go to TD HQ before/after a run and talk to them about it. Your concerns won't be lost to bureaucracy; TD isn't so big that your words will never reach the appropriate ears. Chances are you could even to talk to Jeff directly.

But remember that works both ways, too. Don't be the one being sulky and abrasive because you're the one that didn't get your way. The objective is for everyone to have fun, and honestly, the dungeon doesn't change just because you're a different class than you expected. It's just a different experience, and they're all fun in their own ways.
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Re: In depth feedback, as requested by in game GMs 4 years 7 months ago #10

NoOneElsesName -

On the forum thing, I totally hear you. It's backwards. On the other hand, I've had literally dozens of conversations with other players on how much easier it is to know a person by their actual name on the forum when meeting in person than to try to keep forum handles vs. real names straight. But I digress.

I used to be in the exact same boat you were. I had a very small budget, only geared myself for Rogue. Made sure I got to the coaching room on time (protip: If you do come back, and we hope you do - "on time" is 30 minutes before your start time). Kept getting sniped on my preferred class, and had to have that "no, I was here first and I'm only geared for that" conversation.

Once I gained some experience and began running with more experienced players, I learned to gear myself several classes deep (a Rogue needs very little gear to switch into Fighter, Dwarf Fighter, Ranger, or Bard - most of the gear applies to all of those classes) at Normal/Hardcore. Most of the disputes over class when they happened turned into "no, YOU take it, I insist". Some people are jerks about it and there are always going to be jerks who play (see nearly half of the posts about TD on the top of the forums this year). But they really are the exception and not the rule. Most of us are good people. We'll still make mistakes and there will still sometimes be confusion or hurt feelings, but we're all here to play a game we love and it's best when everyone is having a good time.

As in most things, it's best to hope for the best, plan for the worst. Hope you get the class you want if you're not joining pre-arranged groups here. Plan on other classes just in case. I branched out into caster classes this year! Don't be intimidated by other classes, they are all fun to play.

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Re: In depth feedback, as requested by in game GMs 4 years 7 months ago #11

And one other note when your GF plays the Rogue. Don't be afraid to ask if any of the other players (especially if they look like have good gear) have:

  • Libram of Looting
  • Elktar Tinkering Tool

The Libram lets the Rogue take both the treasure and the clue! The Tinkering Tool lets the Rogue start at the half way point.

In all my runs I never played the Rogue (ever in TD) even though I have very good hand eye coordination. Regardless, I bring those two tokens and loan them to the Rogue in my group so everyone wins.

Ed
Useful Links:
TD Character Creator
Amorgen's Excel Char Gen Tool
Token DataBase
Talking TD Podcast

TD Accomplishments:
Member of the first team to survive Epic True Grind
1st Solo NM as Poly Druid
Proud member of Gas Station Sushi
Don't Nerf Our Tokens!

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Last edit: by MasterED.

Re: In depth feedback, as requested by in game GMs 4 years 7 months ago #12

  • Ro-gan
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If you and your gf use the forums you can start a thread asking to create a group of 10 regulars that adventure together year after year.

That is the simplest of solutions and guarantees you have a regular crew. And, every run will give you all more bonding time. You could even make great friends with them that you hang outside of TD.

Throughout the years I have made so many great friends using various forums that I will even go to visit them outside of Cons even if they live hours away.
"It's treason then."



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