Friend System needs an overhaul!

AuthorMessage
Ensign
Dec 03, 2010
8
First and foremost, the current Friend system is ridiculous, was never designed properly, and needs to be updated and modernized to comparable functionality and quality of other online gaming systems.

1) Centralized and Integrated chat server.

No matter what game I am on, I should be free to chat with buddies on other King's Isle games, including Pirate101, Wizard101, Grub Guardian online, Minigames, or any other King's Isle game. This is how many other games I have played set things up. Existing technology can easily be adapted for this purpose (IRC in an SSL tunnel maybe?) It's old, stable, reliable, free, proven, advanced, powerful technology. Naturally leads into next item. This also has the advantage of removing the maintenance of dual redundant code, when you share most of the code base, reuse that code, and effectively just making a skin for the client inside the game. This consolidates server configuration and maintenance also.

2) Add 1 friend must add All their Pirates (and Wizards!).

If I like playing with one other person, why must I add all 5 of the other pirates separately, as if they are 5 different people? Why should it cost me 6 spaces on my limited list of 100 friends. Effectively, that limits my friend list to 16 real people and a few randoms. That means my friend network is more susceptible to having nobody online. I don't want to delete people that I enjoy playing with, just because they are not here right now. As only 1 Pirate or Wizard can be actively used on any single account on any given game, this causes absolutely no additional chat server resources! The exact same number of users will be connected, only now, you are maintaining a single server.

3) Persistent Friend details.

Right now, all friend details are cached locally, and only updated when they are both in the same room near you AND you open up your friend list and click on them and expand the Inspect friend tab and click on the crossed swords tab to see worn gear. If your system crashes, your install is corrupted, or otherwise reinstall the game, that local cache is wiped out, and you have no way to know the class and level of that friend. Furthermore, for those with the ability to chat freely, we may prefer similar friends over those restricted to using a menu. However, if those friends of offline, we have no way of determining which one they are. If our friends list is full, we'd ideally seek to remove one of those players before removing a more mature and communicative player. At a bare minimum, all of this data should be fetched when opening the Friends list and clicking on a friend's name and clicking the triangular Inspect button (currently impossible). Ideally, it should be updated asynchronously after login, similar to the way other objects are loaded if not present. The friend data should have a time to live (expiration date) and if it has changed, it should also be refreshed. That could be less frequent: weekly or monthly.

Ensign
Dec 03, 2010
8
Continuing from Part 1 of 2.

4) True Friends

Currently, True Friends code claims to allow you to add all your friends from any King's isle game, to all your players on your accounts on all games. It does no such thing, never has. It only adds one friend to one other account, on same game. It can ease the confusion of new players having to meet up on Avery's Court on the same realm. This feature is largely useless in it's current implementation, and only serves to give special friends a green name on your friends list, when having a gold star is not special enough. People can meet up easily without this feature. However, if the previous ideas are implemented, this feature becomes useful and may actually be made to work as advertised. Also, the current implementation and usage reveals some areas for improvement, listed next.

5) Friend List Organization

It would be nice to have some additional ways to identify levels of friendship visually, without having to click a lot of buttons. Maybe color coded based on age of friendship? Right-click and status or rank assignment of friend? (Admiral, Captain, First mate, Second mate, Cabin Boy, Bilge Rat, etc). Instead of a binary star icon toggle, and another binary true friend color toggle (no way to remove a true friend status once granted, hmm), how about various icons and color combinations to indicate rank, ability to speak (openly, filtered or with menu) and name color to indicate length of friendship? This would introduce complete manageability of all the various toggles, as they could be turned on or off at any time.

5) a. Friends List Scrolling

This is strongly related to organization, above. Right now, the scroll wheel does not work in friends list. The only way to move up or down a list of 100 (with a view pane in P101 of 13 friends at a time), is to click up/down arrows at either end of the list, which moves the list one at a time. At a very MINIMUM, we need additional buttons. Move to beginning, to end, up 5, down 5, up a page, down a page. This, combined with all the previous ideas, would make the process of finding a friend to delete to make room for a new friend take a matter of seconds rather than half an hour.

6) Customizable Chat Box: text, font, size, color (foreground and background), opacity.

One problem I noticed when trying to use the True Friend codes in game with other friends who have open chat, sometimes they could not read the codes correctly because of the colors chosen, and the fonts. I found they were able to read codes in Pirate101 and not Wizard101 due to the differences in color. Using Public Chat (white), Private chat (magenta), and Group chat (blue), yielded vastly different levels of readability. Let's reduce eye strain for all and potential long term damage to kids! At the very least, ability to assign different foreground (text) colors to Public, Private, Group and System messages! Possibly a slider to change the opacity as well.

Pirate Overlord
Mar 10, 2009
6079
Shaky Valerian Par... on Dec 11, 2013 wrote:
Continuing from Part 1 of 2.

4) True Friends

Currently, True Friends code claims to allow you to add all your friends from any King's isle game, to all your players on your accounts on all games. It does no such thing, never has. It only adds one friend to one other account, on same game. It can ease the confusion of new players having to meet up on Avery's Court on the same realm. This feature is largely useless in it's current implementation, and only serves to give special friends a green name on your friends list, when having a gold star is not special enough. People can meet up easily without this feature. However, if the previous ideas are implemented, this feature becomes useful and may actually be made to work as advertised. Also, the current implementation and usage reveals some areas for improvement, listed next.

5) Friend List Organization

It would be nice to have some additional ways to identify levels of friendship visually, without having to click a lot of buttons. Maybe color coded based on age of friendship? Right-click and status or rank assignment of friend? (Admiral, Captain, First mate, Second mate, Cabin Boy, Bilge Rat, etc). Instead of a binary star icon toggle, and another binary true friend color toggle (no way to remove a true friend status once granted, hmm), how about various icons and color combinations to indicate rank, ability to speak (openly, filtered or with menu) and name color to indicate length of friendship? This would introduce complete manageability of all the various toggles, as they could be turned on or off at any time.

5) a. Friends List Scrolling

This is strongly related to organization, above. Right now, the scroll wheel does not work in friends list. The only way to move up or down a list of 100 (with a view pane in P101 of 13 friends at a time), is to click up/down arrows at either end of the list, which moves the list one at a time. At a very MINIMUM, we need additional buttons. Move to beginning, to end, up 5, down 5, up a page, down a page. This, combined with all the previous ideas, would make the process of finding a friend to delete to make room for a new friend take a matter of seconds rather than half an hour.

6) Customizable Chat Box: text, font, size, color (foreground and background), opacity.

One problem I noticed when trying to use the True Friend codes in game with other friends who have open chat, sometimes they could not read the codes correctly because of the colors chosen, and the fonts. I found they were able to read codes in Pirate101 and not Wizard101 due to the differences in color. Using Public Chat (white), Private chat (magenta), and Group chat (blue), yielded vastly different levels of readability. Let's reduce eye strain for all and potential long term damage to kids! At the very least, ability to assign different foreground (text) colors to Public, Private, Group and System messages! Possibly a slider to change the opacity as well.
You have some really great points here. You make my request sound like a change from fat crayons to skinny ones lol. This is well thought out. Well done.