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Shane C

Rewarding bad players

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In Super Mario 3D Land for 3DS, some levels were a bit challenging. If you lost a level too many times, you would get a golden leaf which allows you to fly and be invincible to any enemy - pretty powerful stuff. What do you think of giving "bad" players a reward? What do you think of giving them such a huge reward?

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It's a feature and part of target audience selection and learning curve planning. But as a concept it doesn't have a place in every game, for example anything with serious take on things (indicated by age rating among other things) or anything that is multiplayer. In brief:

 

Does it affect player vs player situations in any way? => another unneeded balance issue you don't want players arguing about

 

Is repeatedly playing bad easier than trying to play good? => promotes cheating and players won't get addicted to progress

 

Can the feature be abused to skip lengths of the game? => bad players could miss key features of your game

 

Is it inconsistent with the game world? => illogical rewards (such as skipping bosses) break immersion

 

Is it inconsistent with the way you reward the player throughout the rest of the game? => players feels cheated and stop investing their time to challenging and time consuming tasks that supposedly yield good rewards

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It's a feature and part of target audience selection and learning curve planning. But as a concept it doesn't have a place in every game, for example anything with serious take on things (indicated by age rating among other things) or anything that is multiplayer. In brief:
 
Does it affect player vs player situations in any way? => another unneeded balance issue you don't want players arguing about
 
Is repeatedly playing bad easier than trying to play good? => promotes cheating and players won't get addicted to progress
 
Can the feature be abused to skip lengths of the game? => bad players could miss key features of your game
 
Is it inconsistent with the game world? => illogical rewards (such as skipping bosses) break immersion
 
Is it inconsistent with the way you reward the player throughout the rest of the game? => players feels cheated and stop investing their time to challenging and time consuming tasks that supposedly yield good rewards


Thanks. There are many "ifs" to your answer, which means you would probably eventually agree with me that it's a bad mechanic under most circumstances. I was trying to tell this to a group of people but failed.

I much prefer neutral ways of getting back in the game. Going with multiplayer, in The Last Story, you could defeat the other player for more points, run around the board collecting points, or wait until Sudden Death (1-5 minutes left) and defeat the player which gets you a massive number of points. The other player can do the same, but since doing things correctly gets you back in the game especially with the game taking points away from him every time you defeat him, you have a good chance against all but the greatest of players when in a losing battle.

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I agree that it doesn't have a place in COMPETITIVE multiplayer, but it's something that isn't so bad for cooperative multiplayer, again based on the target audience and type of game.

 

I would argue, purely speculatively, that Super Mario 3D land 3DS would be a bad game for such a mechanic. I would think it skews younger (platformer on a handheld) and kids are generally good gamers. I could beat Super Mario 3 with my eyes closed when I was younger, but I have trouble these days.

 

I think the mechanic has a place in games targetting co-op play between parents and kids (so on PC or console rather than handheld). This way the parent could stay alive and not annoy his kid by dying every 5 seconds when they get deeper into the game. I think by combining the bonus with a "both players need to stay alive" mechanic, you could balance it to keep the game enjoyable for the better player.

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I thought Mario Kart was that way but wasn't sure.

Regarding Smash Bros., I became so skilled at the game, that the people who played me would no longer play me.

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I'd get regularily whooped at SSB. dry.png But at Mario Kart Wii, only one person in my immediate sphere of competitors would equal or surpass me, and then it'd come to which maps we played to determine which of us would win (whether the map complimented their playstyle or mine). happy.png

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I'd get regularily whooped at SSB. <_< But at Mario Kart Wii, only one person in my immediate sphere of competitors would equal or surpass me, and then it'd come to which maps we played to determine which of us would win (whether the map complimented their playstyle or mine). ^_^


I'm the opposite, pretty good at Smash Bros. when well practiced, bad at Mario Kart. A bit off-topic but maybe we should start a game group here to play a game online some time. If I had to pick, it would be The Last Story (Wii), although I would have to rebuy it.

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Generally I think rewarding bad players in casual multiplayer and single player is a great way to keep the player motivated and create challenge.
Crash bandicoot was known for adjusting the difficulty behind the scenes if a player dies to often, its the same concept. In multiplayer as long as the rewards are balanced it creates a more balanced competition even for less skilled players and in single player it keeps the player motivated to continue going. 

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