VOR '17-'18 - THE GAME

WetHog

Super Anarchist
8,605
421
Annapolis, MD USA
Looking at the start of the 2nd leg of Leg 0 I remembered the VOR on Virtual Regatta a bunch of us participated in during the last edition of the VOR.  I then went on the Virtual Regatta website and saw they are not doing a VOR Leg 0 this time around.  Anyone know why?  I remember starting in the middle of Leg 0 last time so I expected one for this edition.  

WetHog   :ph34r:

 
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Your Mom

Super Anarchist
2,452
497
San Antonio, TX
I've been quite active at Virtual Regatta since the last VORG...  I've been the #1 US player in their world rankings for more than a year now, won three races so far in 2017, and was #6 in the overall world rankings as of a month ago.  The thing is...  They just introduced an entirely new version of the game.  You can no longer pay a flat fee in "credits" up front to race unlimited, and there's also not entirely such a thing as playing without options.  They give you some credits for free when you start, and for finishing, and then you can spend credits on individual upgrades pre-race, as well as on "cards" during the game.  You can also get free "cards" every 5 hours.  The cards are for stealth mode, forecast viewing, "programmation" (scheduled maneuvers), waypoints, and auto-sails.  You can't explicitly buy the cards you need, though...  there's some randomness to it.

So...  it's becoming a bit more like a Clash of Clans style game, trying to reward players who are online and addicted 24/7, and less like real sailing.  I'm still playing for the moment, but I'm undecided for the long term.  The thing is...  your finish bonus is bigger the better you finish, and I went 3-2 in the last two races (and I'll finish one tomorrow that will likely be another top 5, maybe a 1), so I'm running a profit on credits.  So...  I'm going to keep playing as long as I'm doing well enough to run a profit.  They'll probably up the prices eventually, and then I'll probably quit as soon as my credits run out.  I don't want to play a game where I have to make monetary decisions after the start.

Anyway, they're running a race called Zanzib right now, and the Mini Transat starts Sunday.  Then the Clipper Race will start before VOR.  So anyone wanting to do VORG might want to give it a try in one of those races first, to get a feel for the game and to decide whether or not you can live with this style of interface and still enjoy playing VORG.  My guess is that half the SA people who did the last VORG will bail out.  The new version will be more appealing to 12-year-olds than serious sailors.  But...  if you don't get to agitated about the stupid card game thing and just play it old-style, you can still enjoy it and may be able to do it at lower cost than the old VORG.

To answer the question: Will there be a VORG?  Rumors are flying among the top racers.  To summarize my interpretation...  There will definitely be a VORG...  probably with Virtual Regatta but not guaranteed...  we're guessing it hasn't been announced formally because contracts aren't signed yet...  and VOR appears to have higher-priority concerns in the short term.

The forums and groups are also inactive at this time.  Both will probably be activated before the Clipper Race.  Virtual Regatta tends to shut those things down when they introduce new things.  I think it's probably to keep people from freaking out collectively...  Better from their perspective to force users to get used to the changes before allowing us to discuss.

If you log in, you'll see that I'm actually ranked #2 in the world right now.  When Zanzib Leg 2 is closed, I'll probably move to #1.  For the record, I'm not happy about that.  When they introduced the new version, they re-did the scoring system, and they re-initialized everyone's world ranking scores.  The top 100 were all re-scored to be 1 point apart from each other.  #'s 1 and 2 had leads of something like 600,000 points over me at #6.  I wasn't going to catch them anytime soon.  But after the reset, I happened to go 3-2 in two races right away...  and passed them immediately.  So yeah...  I'm about to be #1...  but I haven't properly earned it yet.

 
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Your Mom

Super Anarchist
2,452
497
San Antonio, TX
A couple more positive things to be aware of about the newer version of the game...  The winds evolve continuously now, interpolated between the GFS forecasts, rather than being a defined constant that suddenly changes once every 12 hours.  And the latest version updates every minute instead of every 10 minutes, so it's almost realtime.

And another negative...  they don't provide the polars anymore, so you can't figure out in advance which sails you'll need for what angles unless you reverse-engineer the whole thing (which I haven't attempted to do).

 

TheActualDave

Member
143
1
L.A.
Thanks for the inside info, Mom, I've really been struggling with the new format - seems much buggier etc. Are there any alternatives?

EDIT: And congrats on the ranking!

 
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Your Mom

Super Anarchist
2,452
497
San Antonio, TX
Regarding bugginess, keep in mind they just launched this new version at the beginning of September, and they've run a handful of small races essentially as beta tests.  I'm hopeful that we'll see some improvements between now and the start of VORG, assuming VORG happens with VR.

On the other hand, VR still has their share of game management issues.  In Zanzib leg 2, there was an island being treated as a mark of the course with no indication.  When they closed access to leg 2, they accidentally also briefly closed leg 3, resulting in everyone's pre-scheduled maneuvers being cancelled.  It seems unlikely that mistakes like these will cease, but one can always hope.  The good news is...  the servers are stable now.  I think hosted by a third party with dynamic capacity.  I haven't seen the game crash at a start, even for big events.

Regarding Newport, looks like yes, they've fixed it.  It still looks wrong when zoomed out, but when you zoom in, it looks right.

BTW - They've implemented a minimum windspeed.  Currently set to 4.0 kts, but they say they can adjust it by race.  Hopefully it'll be 1.0 or less for VORG.  Otherwise the doldrums will be a joke.

 

Alhadder

Super Anarchist
3,772
391
Left coast of Oz
I'll probably sit this one out. Mainly all to do with trying to get my sleep patterns back in to working order, ie sleeping through the night. Playing this game again will truly muck that up completely.

And besides they're not turning left at Cape Town this time around so my protest of the change in route for the last 3 VOR's via my boat name, NoLeftTurnatCapeTown, has become redundant. It's nice to have a win after so many years. Hopefully the real boats will be sailing by close to home this time around. I'm guessing they will be tracking north towards the South coast of WA to keep them closer to rescue if required but descriptions on Leg 3 route on VOR are a bit vague.

 
Im trying the Mini game. Not sure about the changes. Seems a more pay to play game. And get your alarm set to 5 hrs to play free cards. Taking away the forecast sucks. Windy.com could fill in the wind forecast.  

 
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Your Mom

Super Anarchist
2,452
497
San Antonio, TX
Im trying the Mini game. Not sure about the changes. Seems a more pay to play game. And get your alarm set to 5 hrs to play free cards. Taking away the forecast sucks. Windy.com could fill in the wind forecast.  
You pretty much nailed it.

I think I was leading Mini, or within the top 3-4 spots, around 2 AM Central US time while sleeping last night.  But...  I forgot to play an Autosails card, so I sailed 4 hours downwind under Code Zero while the rest of the lead pack put 2-3 miles on me.  F'ing stupid card game.  I have plenty of Autosails cards.  Just forgot to play one.

 

stufishing

Member
395
19
Brisbane
Ive just dropped into the mini race, can't for the life of me work out what is going on. I will persevere for a while. I'm up in the air if I can handle the interface, had wrong sail up for a full day so far.

By the way Mom, congrats on the ranking!

 
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Your Mom

Super Anarchist
2,452
497
San Antonio, TX
I tend to exit the game to the home screen and re-enter regularly.  Per Stu's point, while your own boat moves once per minute, the rest of the boats only update when you click on them (unless you exit and re-enter).

About the wind...  yeah...  you have to play a card to see the forecast.  Once you play it, I believe you'll be able to see the forecasted winds for 2 hours.  (Two hours of being able to see all forecasts, not unlimited view of 2 hours of forecast).  So...  if you don't want to use Zezo or anything else like that, you wind up having to play forecast cards regularly.  And on the other hand, if you use something like Zezo, you wind up ignoring the forecast cards and going with what you see elsewhere.  Unfortunately, I think it's driving the natural behavior more toward tools like Zezo rather than less...  Between the need to play cards to see forecasts and the need to play cards to plot hypothetical routes, it's difficult to come up with quality plans independently from tools like Zezo.

One thing to keep in mind...  you get credits granted to you...  a start bonus just for entering the race...  and a finish bonus based on your final position...  and then something like 10 credits back per unplayed card.  So...  if you wind up needing to buy some cards, that doesn't necessarily mean your net outlay at the end of the race will be more than before this whole new concept.  That's what I'm trying to personally evaluate now.  If I can race competitively with a net outlay that's less than the old fixed cost, then I'll do so and try to forget how stupid the whole card game thing is.  If I need to spend more than the old fixed cost to compete, then I'll quit.  Simple as that.  So far, I'm running a net profit, though.

 




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