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Old 05-29-2020, 11:00 PM   #1826
suitedjustice
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

Solitaire

Solitaire TriPeaks is a free-to-play game that's rife with standard in-game purchases. It has over 10 million installs, so some of you may be familiar with it.

As you probably know, these games are designed to be highly addictive; I have played Solitaire TriPeaks at least once per day for the last 279 consecutive days. Before that, I played 161 days in a row until I missed a day, and before that, 50 days. If I don't check in on the game every single day, I accrue Certain Penalties which set me back somewhat within the ongoing game. The penalties themselves are quite minor, but such is the nature of the game design that I cannot bear the shame of missing a day and being slapped with them.

The idea behind the game is to have the player--in the medium term--run out of in-game currency and/or boosters and--as the player should by then be addicted to the game--to have that player buy more access to the game by using real money.

The true art and craft of design for this type of game lies in perfectly setting the in-game currency and booster replenishments to a level that makes a player falsely believe that he or she can play it indefinitely without ever once needing to spend real money.

I have, in fact, played this game for more than a year and a half without spending a dime, but that may only be due to the fact that I am a nit with an addictive personality, which is a potentially interesting combination of discordant personality types as well as being the basis of this entire thread.

So...how to get a min-max deadbeat like me to spend some money? This game wasn't free-to-make, after all. Well, you can introduce a social aspect to the game, and that ought to stir in some peer pressure.

Enter the clubs. Joining a club with other players gives one a huge boost in in-game currency replenishment, but it comes with certain responsibilities: there are collective club goals and challenges to pass in order for everyone to receive more in-game currency and boosters. The individual player is tracked and their results are posted for the rest of the club to see. Club leaders are empowered to kick out any members who aren't pulling their fair share of the duties.

The first club I joined was named go team venture. I liked both the Venture Brothers reference and the club's name being in no-caps, which I took to be the opposite of all-caps, and therefore good. go team venture is a public club, which means they had to take me in when they had a space open. Of course, the club leader can still kick anyone out if they prove to be a do-nothing leech, so the incentive to be productive is still in place, even in the public clubs.

go team venture is led by a player named lo fo sho. When I picture lo fo sho in my mind I see a big happy middle-aged native Hawaiian man with long curly dark brown hair growing down in a fringe around his balding forehead. I can't tell you why this image makes me happy; it just does.

lo fo sho was my first friend in the game. Friends are distinct from clubs. You cannot message them, you cannot play co-op with them--the limit of what you can do with friends is to gift them in-game currency every few hours at no cost to yourself and to collect in-game currency from them at no cost to themselves.

Being anti-social, I had avoided making friends until lo fo sho broke in with a request. I accepted, since "he" was my club leader. Once I found out that having friends was all about getting in-game currency without having to do any real social interaction, I sent out a pile of requests and quickly made the game-maximum 30 friends, and I have maintained that max number ever since. Once every week or two, I get a new friend request, which I accept, and to make room for the newbie I review my current full list of friends and ruthlessly boot out the one who has spent the longest time away from the game.

For a long time, everything went well with go team venture. lo for sho was a good leader who consistently produced results for the club while offering the occasional encouraging word on the clubhouse message board. My own in-game currency climbed up to stratospheric levels, eclipsing even the massive jackpot prize from one of the side games. Naturally I ramped up my play and plowed through most of that accumulated currency within a matter of a few months.

I jumped up the ranks within the club and I was soon finishing in the top 3 players every week, but lo fo sho always had me beat, garnering at least twice as many points as whatever I would manage to accrue.

Two weeks ago, lo fo sho stopped playing, completely. I'd been in this club for months and I'd never seen him absent for more than a few hours. Something happened, I thought. Could be a family emergency, or an illness. I'll just keep playing, and he'll be back.

But he hasn't come back. A few days ago, I took my first long look at go team venture. Several members were putting up zero points for the week, and we may or may not have lost a high producer or two. Our club had been slowly dropping down the ranks for weeks and picking up less and less currency and boosters. I should have noticed all this, but I had trusted my club leader to keep an eye on things.

lo fo sho is gone. Did he catch the virus? I wondered: should I wait for him to come back or should I jump ship and abandon my first friend in the game?

I felt that I might be kind of a big deal in this game, so I started shopping around, looking at the top clubs, the invite-only clubs, and I applied to four different outfits. All of them accepted me, and in my hubris I picked the top club of the four, the club where my best weekly output so far would place me around 15th out of 25 members. I moved up to where they respected my Solitaire. Goodbye lo fo sho. I'm sorry I abandoned you. You were a good club leader. I hope you didn't catch the 'rona.

I joined the new club halfway through the week, and the game immediately stripped me of all my accrued points for that week--presumably they gave the points to my old club. This new club has definite expectations: x thousand points by Monday and a minimum of x thousand points per week. Almost all of the players appear to be making and exceeding these lofty goals by a bunch, so I'm guessing that the club leader is doing a lot of pruning at the bottom, and that only the fittest are surviving here.

I started at the bottom with zero points halfway through the week. Not a great first impression, so I blasted through an alarming pile of my remaining in-game currency and managed to finish second-to-last for the week. The Latin word for second-to-last is penultimate. I've always liked that the Romans gave the position its own word.

Now we're in a new week and I'm stressed out AF. This is supposed to be a fun distraction, but these people are serious. At the same time, the rewards for hanging with this high-ranked club can be substantial, along with whatever level of phony prestige I'd like to attach to my membership. One thing's for sure, if I end up spending any real money on in-game currency, then I most certainly have

Spoiler:


The goal--as it's always been--is to go as far as possible without buying any in-game currency. Doing that with this club, at best, will leave me hanging around the club's bottom margin, always in danger of getting the boot for underperforming, always logging on every 4 hours to get that sweet new currency dump to keep me on the margins, logging on again and again like I'm feeding a nest of voracious baby birds who will never take wing and will never leave me in peace. But quitting the club would be an admission of defeat, which I am not prepared to make at this time.

Las Vegas casinos open next week.

Last edited by suitedjustice; 05-29-2020 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 05-30-2020, 12:58 AM   #1827
Colin_Piddle
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

Haven't been to this thread for a few months. But I'm back now. Still as good as ever
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Old 05-30-2020, 06:14 AM   #1828
suitedjustice
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Da_Nit View Post
I need more stories of you being high and paranoid wandering the valley. Can someone give this man some weed.

That or with a flask of bourbon will work.

SJ did you make it to the strip at peak shutdown, particularly at night to see the differences?
I've been stoned for the past 2 weeks; it just hasn't been very eventful. The dispensary had cheap $40 quarters (7 grams). This particular strain hasn't been making me paranoid, which is nice. Unfortunately I threw the tag out and forgot the name of it, so I wouldn't be able to order it by name again.

*Edit: found the tag. It's Vienna Skunk by Acres. G'day M8.

I haven't been down to the Strip. I haven't wanted to get on to a bus or into an uber all this time, and it's a little beyond my walking range

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin_Piddle View Post
Haven't been to this thread for a few months. But I'm back now. Still as good as ever
Thanks Colin! Yeah, not much to catch up on during these past few weeks of downtime. I've been hoping for a big tournament score but it hasn't materialized just yet.

Last edited by suitedjustice; 05-30-2020 at 06:22 AM.
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:23 AM   #1829
Da_Nit
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

Solid update and yes it appears all these free online games follow the same model.
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Old Yesterday, 09:16 PM   #1830
suitedjustice
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

Thanks Da_Nit!

I did have a bout of paranoia last night on my dinner run. It occurred to me that since I dress mostly in black and carry a backpack with me that someone who subscribes to a certain type of curated news feed might mistake me for an Antifa activist and decide to take a potshot at me.

I'm edging close to the political realm, where I don't want to go, so I'll just conclude by saying that in the clear light of next-day sobriety, I don't think my notion was so paranoid as to be easily disregarded, so I've designated today as a laundry day, where I'm concentrating on my meager stock of non-black clothing articles.
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Old Yesterday, 10:17 PM   #1831
Phat Mack
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

"Look good, play good."

-Poker Babe
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