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Subject: Why there's so much frustration (Dominion Online/iOS) rss

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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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This is why I believe there is a lot of frustration and criticism over the current Dominion Online launch issues, lack of offline play and apparent quality issues (as reported by several playtesters):

March 2010: Unofficial Dominion PC game released. Allowed by RGG after card images removed. Shows how nice it is to be able to play Dominion any time offline.

Hey, wouldn't it be great if there was an official Dominion app to play any time on your iPhone/iPod/Android/iPad??


February 2011: Battle of Gundabad (Dominion clone) app released, includes offline play. Shows how well Dominion (in essence) can work even on a small iPhone screen.

Hey, wouldn't it be great if there was an official Dominion app to play any time on your iPhone/iPod/Android/iPad??


June 2011: Ascension app released, includes offline play. Shows how incredibly well a deck-building game can be made for the iOS platform, with multiple ways to play (offline/online/asynch).

Hey, wouldn't it be great if there was an official Dominion app to play any time on your iPhone/iPod/Android/iPad??

(Sometime after this point, word came that there would indeed be some kind of official Dominion electronic version, which Jay and I think Donald both confirmed would definitely include iOS.)


January 2012: Unofficial Dominion app released, includes offline play. Allowed by RGG on a temporary basis. Shows how well Dominion itself works on iOS.

Hey, wouldn't it be great if there was an official Dominion app to play any time on your iPhone/iPod/Android/iPad??

(According to Jay at RGG, the release is imminent, within a few weeks.)



April 2012: Nightfall app released, includes offline play. See above about Ascension.

Hey, wouldn't it be great if there was an official Dominion app to play any time on your iPhone/iPod/Android/iPad??


May 2012
June 2012
July 2012

Hey, wouldn't it be great if there was an official Dominion app to play any time on your iPhone/iPod/Android/iPad??

August 2012: Hey, whaddya know, the long awaited Dominion app is finally being released! Well, no not yet. And it's not really an app, but some kind of wrapper to play the online version, but you must be connected online to play and there is no offline version even being planned, apparently (only if the users "demand" it).

I think that, all things considered, the blame for this situation has to go to Rio Grande. It's their product, and their choice of what to do with it, and they could have opted for some other developer/method, which could have been released long ago. Considering all of the above apps, which it should have been obvious that Dominion fans were clamoring over (there are several threads on here with many people practically begging RGG to make an official Dominion app already, with Jay and Donald participating and responding, obviously aware of the huge fan interest), I don't understand how they would think that an online only model would be appreciated by a lot of those people clamoring for a Dominion app. I guess Goku sold them on their idea and model, but ultimately it was RGG's choice. I have to laugh, though, at Goku's tagline of "Games that Go Anywhere" when that's clearly not the case. I mean, really, considering that none of their games are currently intended to be played offline, that tagline is a very poor choice.


So I guess we're still here...

Hey, wouldn't it be great if there was an official Dominion app to play any time on your iPhone/iPod/Android/iPad??
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David desJardins
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Grudunza wrote:
This is why I believe there is a lot of frustration and criticism over the current Dominion Online launch issues, lack of offline play and apparent quality issues (as reported by several playtesters)


I have a simpler explanation. The business of making money from games sometimes conflicts with the goal of people enjoying games.
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Matt Sommer
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Quote:
I guess Goku sold them on their idea and model, but ultimately it was RGG's choice.




No Offline Dominion for you!

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Jason Monroe
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Hopfully Androminion (Android's Dominion clone) stays available. It's perfect for what it is.
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belial1134 wrote:
Hopfully Androminion (Android's Dominion clone) stays available. It's perfect for what it is.

Natch... just like Isotropic, Androminion will be taken down in compliance, when the official Dom app becomes available. Shame too... deep down, I was secretly hoping the official app would've gotten delayed long enough for Dark Ages to be implemented, if not all of the expansions.

.

SommerMatt wrote:
Quote:
I guess Goku sold them on their idea and model, but ultimately it was RGG's choice.




No Offline Dominion for you!

Based what I've been reading around so far, I'm thinking Goko's only lesson will be that they should've done a bit of research before choosing the name of their company :\


EDIT: the usual spelling and typos
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Phil Davies
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ackmondual wrote:
Based what I've been reading around so far, I'm thinking Goko's only leason will be that they should've done a bit of research before choosing the name of their company :\


It's vastly superior to their original name of Funsockets, which frankly just sounds rude...
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Ben Stanley
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Your chronology is right, Grudunza, but a big part of the story and the frustration you are not including is the sloppy PR and many missteps in communications.

I seem to recall Jay writing that it was days from release many months ago; I thought I saw adamant denials that permission was given to a fan to use official art in an interim project (which was actually extremely good) before those denials were retracted and it was admitted that permission had been given; I remember months of radio silence and inexplicable refusals to share developer names or progress reports or any interest in responding to direct fan questions and communications. And I hear a lot about an ill-advised and ineffective "information embargo" during this botched launch window.

I think what shocks people is that Dominion is one of RGG's most important properties! The game is huge, and with IP like that, you would think they wouldn't be extremely late to the party with a half-baked answer all the time.
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J P
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Phase 1: Terminate contract with Goko for not delivering on time.
Phase 2: Ask Playdek to develop the official dominion app.
Phase 3: ???
Phase 4: PROFIT (for everyone!)
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Rodger Jackson
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Grudunza wrote:
This is why I believe there is a lot of frustration and criticism over the current Dominion Online launch issues, lack of offline play and apparent quality issues (as reported by several playtesters)


I have a simpler explanation. The business of making money from games sometimes conflicts with the goal of people enjoying games.


I think that's an over simplification. Playdek has repeatedly shown over the past year plus that there is no reason for them to conflict, and in fact one can help improve the other. (I could be wrong, but since Playdek keeps coming out with games/expansions I'm thinking they are doing just fine. If not quite well.)
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David desJardins
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rodgerrodger wrote:
Playdek has repeatedly shown over the past year plus that there is no reason for them to conflict, and in fact one can help improve the other.


They don't seem to have won these licenses. Maybe there's a reason for that.
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Gavin Cooper
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I think the simplest explanation is the most likely, though disheartening. That boardgame publishers (not designers/developers, but rather the ones holding the purse strings and making the business decisions) know the boardgame industry inside and out, but tend to belong to an older demographic, one that doesn't perhaps know as much about the digital space as we - the consumers - would like them to.

As such, they make bad decisions in that area. Decisions influenced by fast-talking people who use the word "money" a lot.

A generalisation, to be sure. But I don't think too far off the mark.

We're expecting them to think like us - a self-selecting sample group with an affinity for the digital space (i.e. we all come, by choice, to an online space to discuss our interests). We can see quite clearly some pretty fundamental issues. But then, we would. They don't, necessarily.
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kithkill wrote:
As such, they make bad decisions in that area.


What's the evidence they have made bad decisions?
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Gavin Cooper
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Bad decisions from the end-user's point of view, which is the context of this thread. I.e. decisions that lead to a poorer experience from the product.

Of course, we won't *get* any "evidence" that they've made bad decisions, since we'll only ever be able to see what happens with the Goko version. We'll never know what might have happened if they'd chosen a different approach.

But historically, quality products tend not to be those that alienate your core market on day one. All I can point at is the immense goodwill, critical acclaim and financial success enjoyed by Ascension (a game not may people knew until the iOS version came out). Let's come back in 6 months. If Dominion, which is much bigger, better known and more loved as a boardgame, isn't enjoying success greater than Ascension's iOS app, then I think we can take *that* as evidence that in this case specifically, some bad decisions have been made.

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Roberta Yang
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DaviddesJ wrote:
What's the evidence they have made bad decisions?

Well, they're delivering an inferior product months late. Did they make perfect decisions the whole way only to have divine wrath smite the result?
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kithkill wrote:
Bad decisions from the end-user's point of view, which is the context of this thread. I.e. decisions that lead to a poorer experience from the product.

Of course, we won't *get* any "evidence" that they've made bad decisions, since we'll only ever be able to see what happens with the Goko version. We'll never know what might have happened if they'd chosen a different approach.

But historically, quality products tend not to be those that alienate your core market on day one. All I can point at is the immense goodwill, critical acclaim and financial success enjoyed by Ascension (a game not may people knew until the iOS version came out). Let's come back in 6 months. If Dominion, which is much bigger, better known and more loved as a boardgame, isn't enjoying success greater than Ascension's iOS app, then I think we can take *that* as evidence that in this case specifically, some bad decisions have been made.



Having participated of the "private beta", it is quite evident that bad decisions have been made. It would be akin to a miracle that the app wrapper fixes the many concerns raised in this thread and others.

Also, there is permanent damage done, in the form of lengthy delays, a Monumental PR fiasco, etc.

So yes, bad decisions have been made.
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Bruno
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Enough talking ...

Poll
1. Based in the information available on this release so far, what are your plans ?
Won't even waste time trying the free version
Unlikely to buy, but will give the free version a try
Likely to buy, but will certainly try the free version first
Will wait for reviews / more information before making a decision
Insta-buy
2. How important are the following features for you ?
  Not important at all Somewhat important Important Very important Indispensable
Native app (no wrapper)
Async play
Offline pass and play
Offline bluetooth play
Single player offline play (AI)
3. How frustrated are you with this release so far ?
Frustrated, no way ! This is exactly what I wanted, very well done Goko !
Mildly frustrated
Frustrated
Very frustrated
Incredibly frustrated
You don't want to know !
I have never ever been so frustrated about a gaming-related release in my life !
      445 answers
Poll created by teg2
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Richard Morris
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There's already a thread with polls in it ...
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Bruno
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AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
There's already a thread with polls in it ...


Didn't see it .. Do you have a link ?
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Chris Miller
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thirteenthirtyseven wrote:
Phase 1: Terminate contract with Goko for not delivering on time.
Phase 2: Ask Playdek to develop the official dominion app.
Phase 3: ???
Phase 4: PROFIT (for everyone!)




Hey I like Playdek's releases but no one could EVER accuse them of being on time with them. Let's be fair in our criticisms, if terminating licensing contracts due to delayed releases was a reality, Playdek would be long gone.
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Kevin Seachrist
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DaviddesJ wrote:
kithkill wrote:
As such, they make bad decisions in that area.


What's the evidence they have made bad decisions?


I wish Goku and Rio Grande much success for their efforts, but so far the "evidence" reflects not so much bad decisions as bad luck and a bad start. But stumbling out of the gate doesn't mean you'll lose a marathon.

Time will tell. Will this format allow Dominion to reach a broader audience than it would have as a freestanding app? It seems at least to promise we can have cross-platform games, which would be very nice. Not all my friends drink the Apple koolaid.
 
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Richard Morris
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teg2 wrote:
AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
There's already a thread with polls in it ...


Didn't see it .. Do you have a link ?
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/843135/goko-implementati...
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I've got to agree with most of what has already been posted. I think that a lot of the decision was motivated by money. I imagine that was how Goku sold Rio Grande on their model but I don't think it's going to work out.

One development missing from the original timeline is the emergence of isotropic, which also had the support and help of RGG and Donald. It was even used to play test cards. From what I understand, this was an extremely active website with lots of dedicated users and they had to be online to play. I think the success of isotropic is perhaps what helped convince RGG that an online-only game would work, despite all the other evidence that has already been presented but the OP. There was also Dominion on BrettSpielWelt which was only online and had no AI.

I think I checked out isotropic once and didn't ever play a game. It just didn't interest me and I think I am in the majority. On BSW, I played a bunch for a few months but, due to the limits of the game (online only and not all the cards), I lost interest and haven't played in years. The free Dominion iOS app? Played hundred of times by myself, not once online, and would still be playing it regularly if it was allowed to have more than the base set.

Unfortunately, RGG got the wrong message during all of this. I really love Dominion as a game and hope somehow this can be rectified but I am not hopeful. If it ever is, it will take a long time.

One more thing - I was also involved in the beta testing for the game and I gotta say that it played pretty well. There were cards from every expansion so far except Alchemy (I may have just never run into them). The interface was generally nice and the cards worked well together - really no major gameplay issues. Goku built a good interface that succeeded for Dominion. I had a few suggestions that could have made it better. The company sounds like they really want feedback.

That being said, there were some significant problems when I played it on my iPad 3. For example, if I played two games in a row, the game interface experienced a tremendous amount of slowdown during the second game. It was so bad I often didn't finish the game. On my iPad, I was unable to see all parts of the screen at all times. In fact, with one of the treasure cards, the one that allows an opponent to prohibit a player from buying a certain card, I could not block the treasure cards because they weren't fully on the screen. If I ever had to leave a game against AI in the middle, there was no way to recover that game either.

I assumed that these issues were because the game was in beta form and didn't worry too much about them. I figured the company would resolve them well before the game was launched. I, perhaps blindly, kept hoping that the game would all be included in a native app that was specifically made for the iPad, meaning there wouldn't be all these problems. It clearly appears that this is not the case as these were still problems only a couple days ago when I was playing. I'm really let down by what this company is offering. Like I said before, hopefully the game will get fixed but I'm not getting my hopes up.
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ackmondual wrote:
belial1134 wrote:
Hopfully Androminion (Android's Dominion clone) stays available. It's perfect for what it is.

Natch... just like Isotropic, Androminion will be taken down in compliance, when the official Dom app becomes available. Shame too... deep down, I was secretly hoping the official app would've gotten delayed long enough for Dark Ages to be implemented, if not all of the expansions.


Androminion is open source. You can (at least for now) download the source. Perhaps someone will take it and make an even better game, removing the unlicensed content (the exact card details) and using the engine to produce something original and awesome.
 
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AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
teg2 wrote:
AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
There's already a thread with polls in it ...


Didn't see it .. Do you have a link ?
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/843135/goko-implementati...


Thanks Richard.

Bruno, if you want, drop me the poll number/s to yours and I'll put into that thread as well.

Edit: Actually I can get the poll number.. just let me know if you are happy or not with it being included in that thread.
 
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gf1024 wrote:
Was it not today Dominion online was supposed to be released?


It was, but apparently Goko was so busy drafting up press releases and hyping up their amazing product that they completely forgot to launch said product. An honest mistake.
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