We wrapped up our online game on Sunday around 10:30 pm. We'd been aiming to wrap up at 8 pm. But our combat extended and accounted for a good 2 hours of that overage.
Usually I'll gripe about players taking a long time. But generally folks were pretty prompt. Roll20 provided us a lot of slowdowns.
- grabbing the "tail" of a token to turn it isn't always easy; sometimes it gets covered by the other display buttons.
- it's not well-suited to GURPS in its choice of status icons, inability to lay people down across two hexes (I may need to find some "dead" tokens), and so on.
- Sometimes rolling took a long time. We'd click . . . and wait . . . and wait. Actually, as much as I like the character sheets, often people had to click around a few times to get to the right "roll" and then make it, taking more time than just a basic macro'd 3d6.
- The behavior of the interface drives me nuts. I can't ever tell if I'm on pointer, reveal area, cover area, the Map Layer vs. the Token Layer vs. the GM layer, etc. So I'm eternally cursing and clicking and clicking and clicking to move things or modify things. I'll have an icon on the GM layer because the NPC is not visible, then click to move it to the Token Layer, then I need to go back to the Token Layer, then re-grab the token and do things.
- As the GM I have control of all of the tokens (and need it), but that means in close combat (or just close combats) I constantly need to pick up every token and move it aside to get to the one I need or use the interface to swap who is on "top." It's clunky and slow.
- Moving figures is slower because people need to click, drag, drop, turn, etc. to get around while demonstrating their path of movement.
- And not for nothing, but why do I have to give a token sight? Why is unsighted the base standard?
- Finally, if there is a Help command to spit out the command list, I can't find it. ? and Help don't work. So I suffer from a skills deficit on Roll20 and it's tough to find the time to practice so I can whisper, emote, speak to, etc. Or even just do very basic things besides talk and roll.
We also had some Zoom problems (and we're using Zoom because Roll20 just didn't work well when we tried it the first time.)
But the effect of all of this has been that combats are taking much longer. We judge it to be about 20% longer for a given fight, or maybe a bit more. We can't easily do mapless or semi-mappped fights because it's harder to keep track of where people are with a mix of video and phone-in. So everything is tactical in an interface that goes slowly and slows down tactical combat. It's really making it harder to have set-piece fights that don't drag out for hours. That worries me as I see a few set-piece fights coming up and I don't want to dumb them down, shrink them, or otherwise make them less of the fun that they are just because Roll20 is likely to make it take longer.
So we're struggling a bit here. It's been a game-saver but also is making the game run longer.