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Author Topic: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm  (Read 3523 times)

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Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« on: February 24, 2012, 12:29 »

I've been considering a number of possible changes to the game, some more radical than others. This is probably one of those more out-reaching cases. Unlike many of the decisions made during development, however, changing around achievements is almost entirely a matter of if the players find it preferable or better. This is why I'm posting it here, to see whether or not it's even a remotely likeable idea.

Right now badges are fun because they give you something to strive for: goals that are close and goals that are far. On the other hand, I find there to be two big flaws in the badge system:
  • badges are gained exactly once, at which point who cares if you do achieve the exact same thing any number of times
  • the total badge possibilities indirectly limit creativity on the player's part to achieve something other than what any particular badge has to offer
This second point is particularly important. If you need an example, try to think of how many times you actually played on Hurt Me Plenty prior to version 0.9.9.5: there were almost no badges that were HMP+, with Silvers in the HNTR range and Golds in the UV range. If you were a player aiming to get more badges, you pretty much skipped HMP (at least I know I did). The same goes for Angel of Pacifism: prior to 0.9.9.5, the only badges required were either "any difficulty" or N!, so almost no one bothered to play it on HMP or UV. It's a simple and enjoyable system at first, but it ultimately nudges players with its invisible hand toward badges and ONLY badges (and perhaps medals on occasion). Badges aren't bad in and of themselves, but by existing as a "thing to have" people can often overlook just how much they're missing by sticking only to the badge route. (Note that, if you don't really care about badges in the first place, I doubt you'll take much exception in changing the system. If anything, I'm hoping that this makes badges more attractive in general.)

With these things in mind, I'm suggesting that we do away with the current badge system entirely. The way I see it, there's a far more obvious method of the player keeping track of their victories, and that is to literally have a badge for each challenge, each difficulty, and each victory type. We already have something like this, something that you probably pass over every time you check your badges: the challenge/difficulty "spreadsheet" of wins. Part of the new system's implementation would be to expand the spreadsheet to include standard games, as well as keep track of each win type, and possibly round it off with the total number of attempts. Here's a quick example of what it might look like:

ModeE (ITYTD)M (HNTR)H (HMP)U (UV)N (N!)
StndPt 1Pt 1Pt 4Pt 0Pt 3
St 5St 2St 1St 1St 0
Fl 0Fl 3Fl 2Fl 1Fl 1
Tot 15Tot 104Tot 87Tot 211Tot 358
AoBPt 1Pt 4Pt 0Pt 3
St 2St 1St 1St 0
Fl 3Fl 2Fl 1Fl 1
Tot 104Tot 87Tot 211Tot 358
...

Obviously it'd have to be expanded vertically, but I think this would be a great place to quickly establish your overall experience with the game. With such an implementation, all of the current badge pages can be removed outright: as a matter of organization this makes the player info page a little more navigable.

The second half of this suggestion regards the badges themselves: that is, what you get in your mortem for winning a given challenge on a given difficulty with a given victory type. The idea here is to mostly use the names we've gotten used to for badges, but customize them entirely based on the aforementioned criteria. There are a number of ways to work with the naming scheme:

  • Stick with what already exists. Keep the titles (AoMr = Marksman, AoPc = Pacifist, etc) and set Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond to be for ITYTD, HNTR, HMP, UV, and N! wins, respectively. For instance, a standard UV victory would be a UAC Platinum badge, an AoMC HNTR victory would be a Destroyer Silver badge. This doesn't include victory type immediately but we could probably include words (see below).
  • Use a word for each criteria and the badge is a compounded form of those words. This could retain the challenge words, but we'd need special words for each difficulty and could include words for each victory type. Something like, a full UV standard victory could be a Masterful Brutal UAC Badge, and a partial HNTR AoPc could be a Heroic Neophyte Pacifist Badge. (Not saying those are good words, but I'm sure we can come up with something better.)
  • Customize each badge individually. This would take a lot of work but there are a lot of us here to brainstorm for all 225 possibilities (not including any new challenges that might show up later on).
We could also combine some of these, like having a standardized naming scheme for most of the badges but introduce unique badge names for particularly difficult badges.

While a huge part of badges regards winning games, there are a lot of badges that don't. For these badges, it would be a matter of deciding if it's important enough to be considered an achievement on its own and, if it is, turn it into a medal. I really don't mind having a huge number of medals, and it retains their "achieveability", so to speak. The obvious keepers are the level-specific badges, whereas throwing out Technician/Armorer/Heroic series aren't that much of a deal.

Regarding unlocks: it's not too big of a shift to require that you collect so many unique badges and/or medals, possibly even particular ones. There are a few ways to make the unlockable system work with this new idea, which isn't within the scope of this topic. I should also note that some of the badges would essentially be "lost" (mostly on the Diamond end of the spectrum): as it stands, almost all (if not all) of these are known through challenge/difficulty/victory and a combination of medals, so I don't consider it a huge loss. If there are some that would be unexplainable through the mortem itself, we can see about including medals to reflect their status.

First and foremost, of course, is whether or not it seems better than the current system: if nothing else, let me know why it's good or bad relative to how we do it now. I'm mostly concerned that a change to the current system wrecks the compatibility of player data, but I believe that the suggestion laid out here is ultimately a better record of the player's achievements, which should be organized as well as possible before we move on to bigger things like an online record-tracker.

So let me know what you think! This is the kind of topic that doesn't require a person to be experienced with DoomRL to have a significant standing: everyone should feel free to respond to the idea and know that their opinion will matter.
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skarczew

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Re: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2012, 13:56 »

I like it.

Personally I am the player that loved to kill everything everywhere on UV settings. It would be nice to have Bloodthirsty (YAAM) Marksmanship Platinum Badge, for example :) .

Some of mentioned changes would make it easier to understand what was the game about. The more transparent system, the better, imho.
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Uitë

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Re: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2012, 17:37 »

I like the idea of having crazy requirements for the higher end badges, since they give you more to strive for than just finishing the game on certain settings. Otoh, giving a series of set objectives does limit creativity, so it's a tightrope...

A way of solving that would be to have challenge of the week (or month, or whatever) contests, finishable on any difficulty (except maybe ITYTD) that would give a special acknowledgement on completion. This would work especially well if DoomRL is to integrate an internet component.
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Re: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2012, 19:10 »

I think the new ideas for badges presented sound like an overall good idea.

How they relate to the unlockables is pretty important to me. I'm not really a fan of the unlockables myself personally. If it weren't for them, I probably wouldn't really bother playing for specific badges most of the time. And most likely enjoy the game a little more if I could play any challenge mode anytime I wanted to even from the get go. Constantly playing for badges just so I can unlock a specific challenge mode I want to play can get frustrating. Especially after having an hd crash causing me to lose my player file that I had finally just won my first game and reached Sergeant Major rank to unlock Ao100 which I had been wanting to play just a week prior.
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Re: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2012, 19:15 »

Except for my rush to beat Tormuse to 26 bronze badges a while ago, I'm one of those people who doesn't care about badges.  I don't think this will really change my outlook on badges either. Yeah, I'll be getting more badges with this change, but it's for stuff I'd be doing anyways.

I do think having all the badges be directly related to winning would be a good thing, though.  If this means the badges are too difficult or (more likely) not difficult enough, then I think it shows that the difficulty of the challenge/difficulty itself needs changing rather than the badges.  Plus, I think that winning is what should give rank increases, not to say that the other feats aren't interesting and impressive.  Interesting and impressive seems like it would be better suited as a medal though, and putting a solid line between what is a medal and what is a badge also seems like a good thing.  Plus adding medals is, from an organizational standpoint, simpler because you don't have to worry about having it in a series or a predefined difficulty tier.  But then again, I don't play for medals either.

One thing I don't understand - in your first naming system you say the 5 badge ranks will correspond to the 5 difficulties, but ITYTD isn't available on the challenges.
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AStranger

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Re: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2012, 19:29 »

I both like and dislike this idea. I dislike getting rid of the current badges but I do like the idea of increased player tracking and encouraging playing 'more' of the game. Granted this is just an assumption, but I believe the reason most people only play for badges is because there is a screen saying they will level up if they just get X more badges. Players love leveling up. A great compromise would be to keep the current badges as they are and use the ideas here to create a 'milestone' system. Then use the milestone system to track the players skill level instead of their badge counts. Theoretically this would make badges just extra bragging rights and a player that wanted to level up their skill or unlock something would have to obtain these milestones instead. Hopefully this would make unlocking easier or at least more flexible, which would eliminate the aggravation of having to replay the same challenge over and over again to get the next unlockable.
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MaiZure

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Re: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 21:11 »

I definitely feel AStranger's above comment.

In general, I find game dynamics that have discrete, even illogical reward thresholds more interesting than those that track progression down to the minute level and divvy out benefits based on a scorecard that balances all gameplay dimensions. True the latter is always academically/technically appealing, but rarely does gameplay turn out is fun and interesting as the theory would appear. I think there is a real danger of creating a community of homogenized mortem posts as opposed to the breakaway diamond kings that we currently have. Yes, I love seeing them and no, I'm not one of them :P

I agree that current badge system needs work, but I don't think the total overhaul won't result in a system that's about the same (needs work).

Maybe I'm not completely visualizing the scheme here, but please keep discussing!
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Re: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2012, 01:55 »

I'm now the kind of player who pretty much plays only to get more badges.
In the beginning if it wasn't for the badges, I would probably have ignored most of the challenges completely except for a quick trial run.
Ao100 sounded interesting enough though that I wanted to unlock that, which meant collecting badges and by the time I got to that point I was pretty much hooked on collecting badges. Now I'm mostly playing in order to eventually collect all the badges and medals I feel I have a reasonable chance of getting (bronze,silver,gold badges). If I suddenly reached a point where there were no more badges 'just within reach', I'd probably play DoomRL a lot less often.

So yes, I like the idea of having a lot more accomplishments to attempt but having nothing but the challenge+difficulty combinations would be boring. The special badges and the medals are a lot more interesting, but it doesn't matter much if we have for example the Speedrunner series as badges or as medals. Well, as long as most of the medals would not be hidden so you'd know what to attempt.
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Re: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2012, 18:49 »

I agree that the system needs some major work but I think the proposed change is too much. On a related note is there any reason the mortem can't list all badges you qualified for even if you already have them?
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Re: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2012, 12:59 »

I'd love to see badges made more generic, more like milestones than challenges (but retaining some inherent challenge, of course). So, so many of the current system's badges seem like unrealistic goals or markers of pieces falling into place half by chance during one game in a thousand rather than actual achievements.

Keep some of them if you must, but make them into achievements, not necessities to unlock content.
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Re: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2012, 13:15 »

How they relate to the unlockables is pretty important to me. I'm not really a fan of the unlockables myself personally...Constantly playing for badges just so I can unlock a specific challenge mode I want to play can get frustrating.
I was going to leave how this could affect "level-up mechanics" for later, and I think enough people have made their position clear, so we can move on to it.

We could do something as simple as getting particular badges, or a certain number in a particular category (at least X difficulty comes to mind). This would be, more or less, how it functions now, except there wouldn't be easy level-ups from the non-victory-related badges currently existing. However, I believe there's a much cooler way to broaden the level-up system: introduce experience. Following archetypical RPGs, it's really simple for everyone to understand, and allows us to make use of all the available achievements. It is, in fact, as simple in design as it gets:
  • assign every badge and medal an amount of experience
  • player records level up when they get accrue enough experience
Trying to balance each medal/badge with and appropriate amount of experience is a big undertaking, for sure, but it lets players decide what they want to aim for. Harder challenges will net more experience, as will harder difficulties and more challenging victory types. It also means that medals willl have an equal standing with badges in terms of leveling up, so you could (for instance) spam Hell Arena Keys as a means to level, or you could try for a couple of wins to get the same amount. Overall I think it would encourage players to try everything out once the balance settles.
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Deathwind

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Re: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2012, 21:03 »

I like the idea of an exp based system but I still think some of the badges need major reevaluation, brick silver comes to mind first (maybe make it a metal?)
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Re: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2012, 23:18 »

Make everything metal!
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Re: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2012, 11:40 »

An exp-based system would be cool, kind of like for Gears of War or Halo: Reach. It's not so much tied to skill as it is perseverance, which is kind of lame in a competitive multiplayer environment, but playing better will always give much more exp than playing like crap.

Exp would be a bit difficult to hammer out, though. How easy should it be to rank up? Should badges you've already gotten count for additional exp, or do we award them once? Should simply playing a game and scoring kills award some amount of exp, too? Should we keep some sort of achievements system?



p.s. Motorheadbanger, I love your signature.
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Re: Badge Overhaul Brainstorm
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2012, 18:28 »

I like the way the badges are now, personally.  sorted achievements that you work your way up, and roughly indicates teh difficulty of a challenge (i wouldn't attemp Ao100 unless i had tons of other things completed without the badges, but getting to floor 50 giving a badge means that suddenly marginal progress with a loss still is worth something in the challenge.  However lets take a serious look at the problems.

A:  Right now if you can unlock everything, you can do so in 10 rounds maximum every time there is a new version, if you havn't unlocked everything before, you still will unlock everything fairly early into your learning curve.  If you remove either of these things, you create a nucense, experienced players can't get new things, early players will feel like they will "never unlock everything" as i felt unlocking equipment without spoilers in advanced and expert.  And if you expand the badges so that they cover everything, you either have to expand the number of things to get in each tier massivly or expand the number of tiers massivly, which creates problems for quick unlocks by both experienced and new players (or make it so they unlock everything with practically nothing accomplished percentage wise).  This makes changing badges extreamly dangerous without changing the unlock system as well.

B:  Your own statement is that the game doesn't reward you for working your way up to more difficult tasks, and you are worried people will not feel a sense of accomplishment if they play HMP AoMr, but this is difficult to state.  Sure some people feel tempted to jump to UV AoMr, and if they are capable of doing so, is that really a bad thing?  If they arn't, do we really need to reward them further than their sense of accomplishment from beating HMP AoMr, or are people actually just dieing 20x straight on level 8 of UV AoMr and not getting the picture?

C:  If you are worried achievements are too important to unlocking them, why not just have a persistance unlock as a side feature?  That way you can have it both ways with experienced players/fast learners get quick unlocks, but if someone just "can't get it", they can still unlock things.  It's been done in the past with success, why not here.

D:  Have their been many complaints about the achievement system of this game?  Most of the people i've talked to are use to steam/xbox achievements where 90% of them are unimportant, and they are a means to an end.  This game has been like a breath of fresh air to them as well as me where the achievements are ordered and meaningful until a certain point when they are ceremonial, but still organized into a system where comparisons can be made.  While "out doing the competition" is not an excuse to relax, it does mean you should only make a large change if you can point to a specific problem, and do so with care.  Right now, i don't see the specific problem that requires the grand overhall of a system that is heads above the competition on steam/tome/xbox.

E:  If you want to keep track of how many time each badge is gotten, is that even a major change?  As long as it doesn't put in the bottem right corner "achievement unlocked," every single time (annoying in tome4), i don't see what is the problem you are worried about in that regard.
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