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TOPIC: my experience... not good

my experience... not good 5 years 1 month ago #1

So I am posting this from an alternative account, cause as a volunteer I do want to come back next year, and would rather not have bad blood between me and the management.

On a note unrelated to the management, it's really disappointing to see people doing 10+ runs of an event that sells out every year, while there are a ton of people that would love to get one in with their friends. I understand some players have no other reason to come to Gencon, but it discourages a huge number of new people that would be a good outlet for more tokens and goodwill. Not that management seems to care about that, as I will talk about.

So this year was a complete disappointment from the point of view of the one run I got to do. I went through Underdark with a group that had played several times before, though I was the best equipped of the party.
First room: a speed test. There wasn't really a puzzle there. After we were done, the general feel was something to the effect of "that was it?" It required either one person with a good memory and fast hands or the group to work as a team and pass between. I know every one can't be a winner, but that felt like phoning it in.

Second room: Decent fight. The stalagmight was a nice touch. Sadly enough, this was pretty well agreed to be the second best room in the dungeon.

Third room: The Lava Walk. This room has been criticized to death already, but I have to say something. It basically takes the only reason to have a token that seems to be designed for it, and pisses on it. 1 try and then lose treasure is a cheap shot to say the least. We had one misstep on the wrong panel before we figured the spelling thing out, and then one person tripped. Literally hopped and put his foot down wrong. The others in my group spent the rest of the dungeon talking about how we felt robbed. Also, they were talking in the training room about pooling money after the run and buying a PYP pack, then rolling a die off to see who got the UR. After that room one player summed up the feeling with "They don't want to give out treasure, why would I pay those greedy bastards for it?" The whole failure seemed designed to deny treasure to new players. (as most higher level players don't get treasure by rooms anyway.)

Fourth room: we ran puzzle, and pretty well agreed this was the best room. Interesting mechanic with the water pool, nice costume and good interaction from the NPC, and splitting the damage between physical and fire was a good touch. I will point out that the best room in a puzzle dungeon was a combat, and let that stand for itself.

Fifth room: combat back to back. I was fine. the poison didn't really do anything, so that was a non-starter. The surprise with the water to start the room was kind of nice.

Sixth room: the rougue box eliminated most of the mushrooms, but as far as we could tell it was only possible to narrow it down to two. We ate one wrong and took the damage. I kind of understand why it was acid rather than poison, but it was still percieved as a "screw the players, they have to take damage even if they are prepared."

Seventh room: so we had a plan, everyone remembered the colour that went with the eggs, and we put them in. Then we pulled up, the DM stared at us for a moment, and told us we couldn't hold them anymore. He then asked which of us was the rogue, (who had not done the rogue box yet) told us that he died of poison, and we were wrong. We went round and double checked all our eggs, and we couldn't find one that we thought was wrong. So we resurrected the rogue, and while he worked on the box, we switched 2 eggs. This time the DM went round and double checked us. He then told us we were wrong again. The clue was worthless, and I frankly don't even remember how it was worded. We tried changing 2 again, and this time the DM displayed a 5 (first number! first clue on the third try!) we switched them back, he went around with his magic paper, and we got a 7. then time ran out. With his walking around, we lost a third of our time to the DM checking (only 2 checks for 4 tries.) The most annoying part is that as we were doing teardown, I got a chance to see the paper he had, and we had it right the first time! Though he didn't check, and intentionally killed the rogue in what everyone assumed was an attempt to keep us from opening the rogue box.

So after it was over, instead of a team of 10 people ready to go and drop another 250$ or more on tokens, you had a group of 10 people, talking about how they had been robbed in 2 rooms, how they wouldn't be spending any more money on tokens, and maybe they should just do one run next year (most of my party apparently did 2, once in each dungoen,) if at all. Not that anyone seems to care, as the tokens seem to target more and more only the huge players, and there isn't any lack of people willing to do 15 runs if they can.

Edited for spacing and some clarity

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Last edit: by no one. Reason: clarity

Re: my experience... not good 5 years 1 month ago #2

So there is thread regarding resistance tokens and combat/puzzles. http://truedungeon.com/forum?func=view&catid=5&id=229503

You experience is clearly why there should be a feedback mechanism players can use to rate the DMs. This way Jeff can improve the quality of the volunteers for the rooms.

Ed
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Re: my experience... not good 5 years 1 month ago #3

MasterED wrote: So there is thread regarding resistance tokens and combat/puzzles. http://truedungeon.com/forum?func=view&catid=5&id=229503

You experience is clearly why there should be a feedback mechanism players can use to rate the DMs. This way Jeff can improve the quality of the volunteers for the rooms.

Ed


He has said the same thing I have been saying ... let other people play and drop th ghosting which is one of the issues.
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Re: my experience... not good 5 years 1 month ago #4

TD has zero interest in screwing people out of treasure, especially new players. I agree that one fail should not blank the party on the stamp, but to the best of my recollection, it has been three failed attempts in the past. The clue in the room with the mushrooms got you down to red, white, or blue and you could eliminate all but one with the clues from the mushrooms. You ignore all of the mushrooms that did not refer to those three colors, and that left you with a few things to note.... mood, color, and sex.

If you feel you have a puzzle solved correctly, do not hesitate to ask the DM to check again. If necessary, have them call in an AC. They tried to blank our hardcore group due to one fail on a puzzle and we got that fixed.

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Re: my experience... not good 5 years 1 month ago #5

Kaledor wrote:

MasterED wrote: So there is thread regarding resistance tokens and combat/puzzles. http://truedungeon.com/forum?func=view&catid=5&id=229503

You experience is clearly why there should be a feedback mechanism players can use to rate the DMs. This way Jeff can improve the quality of the volunteers for the rooms.

Ed


He has said the same thing I have been saying ... let other people play and drop th ghosting which is one of the issues.


But he seems to be talking about people doing 10+ actual runs, which doesn't sound like ghosting. Personally I can't see myself doing that many runs, even for the treasure, but some people do.

I posted a thread about community-organized newbie runs, I'm at least going to try that out next year. Perhaps I buy the whole run out and offer 9 slots to newbies.

Many people aren't on top of event registration enough to get TD tickets, or they don't know about it until they get to GenCon.
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Re: my experience... not good 5 years 1 month ago #6

@Kirk
That would be a great idea.

I also have been picking up on a theme (not new, unfortunately) but one we need to reinforce, that is the actions of one or two people (for what ever reason, no matter how much training we do) can screw up an entire experience.

We will keep reminding staff to follow the Wheaton rule...

And please let us know when the bad (and good) stuff happens, I will mention the comment card suggestion, we had one in the past 2006 or 2007 I think, it may be time to bring it back.

Dave
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Re: my experience... not good 5 years 1 month ago #7

To the OP.

I have a hard time reading block format without spaces but I'd like to start by saying I'm sorry you didn't have a good time.

Let me also say that some of your points have already been brought up and are being talked about at length.

The "no grind rule" surprised many, including myself. Normally TD has a several strike policy. I was shocked at a single fail causing a no-stamp. Honestly shocked enough that I actually asked to talk to a AC(adventure coordinator) because I thought it was a mistake. I'm one of those people to quote you "most higher level players don't get treasure by rooms anyway" but the strange thing about treasure stamps is its not always about the treasure, its more about the gold star. If that makes sense. So to solve the puzzle but not get the start after only 1 fail on a non-nightmare mode seemed very wrong.

Hopefully TD will adjust the no grind rule in the future.


Another point you bring up is why have tokens if they are going to be circumvented.

This too has been echoed greatly. Sadly its not the first year for this to happen either. There must be a way to come to a happy medium here where tokens can be effective and the room can still be a challenge.
I suspect the powers that be are working toward this. It certainly missed the mark this year.

The last point I'll speak to is the 10+ runs seem excessive.
I might agree with you. I think I went on a lot of runs this year and didn't hit that count. I will say that tickets didn't sell out instantly and there were still loads of open tickets and runs listed here on the boards. Yes not terrible helpful to brand new players but its something.
Lots of gencon events sell out super quick, its the nature of the beast.
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Re: my experience... not good 5 years 1 month ago #8

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This may be a bit of an unpopular opinion so for the record I'm not a big time buyer & have never ghosted a slot, likely never will either so no horse here. But I don't think ghosting runs is the problem.

Some people are going to run with less then the full party if you let them ghost or not. Heck the conventional wisdom for the last few years has been if you want less then 10 buy the slot and make sure to get the ghost bracelets so they are not filled from the wait list. That's just an unfortunate reality of not having dedicated nightmare slots. Its not perfect but IMO its better then forcing people who aren't equipped for it to run higher difficulties.

I'm truly sorry your had a bad experience this year. From the sounds of things yours wasn't the only one this year, and that's something that we all need to be mindful of and work to improve in the future.

All that said I think its a little to easy to blame the 1%. TD relies on the big buyers for a lot of its funding and from what Ive seen most are stand up guys. In the end though there likely isnt much I can say to convince you. And while I hope you decide to give TD another chance I understand if you dont. Its a lot of money to gamble on something you may not enjoy.

Either way I'm sure Jeff and co will read this and do whatever they can to address the concerns you brought forward. In my experience they tend to care a great deal about everyone who interacts with the event, not just the big spenders.
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Re: my experience... not good 5 years 1 month ago #9

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In the lava room you could have one fail and still get the treasure.

The Boots of Lava Walking did help - if you made a mistake, you only took half damage.

I think DMs should kind of look the other way in some cases - if someone needs to step on the E and lands half off, or stumbles and puts a foot down, that's okay. Some of the letters were a bit far apart, especially for halflings and such.

I've said it in other threads - PLEASE ask to speak to a coordinator or a director if you had a bad experience with a DM, or if you think the DM was making a mistake. Ask someone in the epilogue room, the store, the admin area, or the volunteer headquarters to call for someone to help you.
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Re: my experience... not good 5 years 1 month ago #10

Everyone keeps mentioning that people should call an AC or director...but the vast majority of people have no clue these people even exist or that they can be summoned. Most people assume the room DM is a definitive authority on the entire game. They truly are the face of TD.

I suggest feedback cards be available next to the treasure boxes. These cards could list an email (or even just direct the player to this forum) and ask them to specifically mention the room they had a particular praise/gripe about.

While many people seem to be bewildered at the suggestion that the 1%-ers (big token buyers/players) can be problematic, I will say that this is not always obvious. I have seen some big players be a problem, despite them being objectively polite. The simple fact that such players tend to go through runs with a blase and superficial attitude harms the experience for others, despite this not being a "negative" way to act.

Finally, I'll express my opinion that the designers shouldn't worry so much about players circumventing obstacles or making a room too easy due to players having a certain token. Reward preparation and careful thought! If an entire party wants to wear boots of lava walking, good for them! The chance of this happening is pretty slim, and if just a handful of players bypass a puzzle that doesn't necessarily make it easier for others. (Okay, so Debbie and John and Kelly all walked over the lava, now it's my turn...but will the magic still consider me the second one to cross? Or will the magic interpret me as the fifth? ... Uh oh.)

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Re: my experience... not good 5 years 1 month ago #11

One way for TD to get good feedback would be to use a "mystery shopper" system.

TD would ask for volunteers who are attending true dungeon. They would task those volunteers for running the dungeon, and making a report of their experience.

In exchange for the time spent providing the feedback, some small consideration would be given to them (store credit, small cash award, discounted run, treasure pulls, whatever).

I'm not sure what the DM rotation cycle is like, but this would probably be quite feasible, put through one "mystery shopper" through each hour, and have them verbally debrief with the AC at the end of their run.

It's definitely work and coordination, but it would ensure some greater quality and consistency.

An alternative would be to have an "orientation" staging room before the training room where the training room coach runs through some rules:

1. No photography or outside lights.
2. ???.
3. Customer service is important to us, if anything impairs your enjoyment of the game feel free to ask the room DM to summon an adventure coordinator, we are here to help.
4. If, after your run, you would like to provide us with feedback, you can do so by:
a. ...
b. ...
c. ...


I've been playing true dungeon since 2007 - this is the first year that it penetrated my consciousness that I could ask to see an AC / director.

Even with that knowledge, I was momentarily too flustered call an AC in the last room of Sable Gauntlet combat when the undead monster banished a party member in melee and I was trying to use a Mithral Coin of Luck to re-roll the save, and the DM shouted me down with "No! it doesn't work!" - and didn't ask for an AC. I'm almost certain that the DM wasn't actually listening to me and thought I was trying to redeem a Mystic Mushroom (which he had already explained to another player didn't work). Upon reflection I'm almost positive that Mithral Coin of Luck should have been redeemable in that situation.

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Re: my experience... not good 5 years 1 month ago #12

no one wrote: S
On a note unrelated to the management, it's really disappointing to see people doing 10+ runs of an event that sells out every year, while there are a ton of people that would love to get one in with their friends.


I went on less than 10 runs this year ( 9 :p), but my group had to cancel last minute this year so I was basically thrown into random groups as I was tasked with selling all of the other tickets. I talked several of my friends into trying TD at a discounted price. Hopefully I sparked the interest in a few of them! But I added the rest of the extra ones to the waiting list and ended up making runs short-handed as there were no takers for the tickets.

So yes, they were Thursday morning tickets. So if TD wasn't the first thing on their mind I can see the "tons of people" (1 RPGA fan club?) not getting to play. If any of them had come to these forums and stated they wanted to play, then I think they would have had the opportunity.

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