We want people to enjoy Curve Fever 3 on two major aspects. Competitive play and social interactions. To achieve more competitive play, there are different ways of doing this, but one of the things we want to improve, is a better ranking system.
When I was 19 years old, the game of “Battle for Middle Earth” came out. I got addicted to the game, made endless excel sheets and put many hours into the game. After a lot of work, I finally found a strategy that fitted well with me, and it propelled me to nr. 36 of the world. Every match was a hearth thumping experience. Concentration, knowledge and physical condition were key. Each victory was nice, but every loss was devastating. After a match, I was usually sweating like hell. No deodorant could save me.
I couldn’t hold up the commitment to the game, and didn’t want to lose day after day to finally get on a more relaxed level. So I made a new account (called IAmVeryGood) and toyed with some noobs. This was very enjoyable, but after a while also became a bit boring, and finally I quit the game altogether.
So in the years I was gaming competitively, I could really feel what makes me want to continue (looking up the ladder) and what made me to get out at some point (ladder anxiety). With these points in mind we want to re-implement the new ladder system.
Now lets have a look at Curve Fever. The competitive play in Curve Fever consists of 3 important parts:
I believe that the rank point system in Curve Fever 2 works very well for FFA. For teams it doesn’t work so great yet, but we have an improvement ready to make this one also work great. The conditions when the rankings work well are:
Let’s go through this list:
You can’t choose your opponents This means that you can’t boost or be boosted, and that you play against random people equally. You can’t make this happen in custom play of course. But you can do this in Quick Play quite easily. If you are strict in the definition, than this would rule out Custom Play from having a ranking system, and thus Custom Play would become less interesting to play. This is the path almost all games go, but it might not be the path Curve Fever wants to take. I believe Custom Play has more gameplay depth and replayability value than Quick Play. We are currently exploring how we can still give rank points in Custom Play, although a little less than in Quick Play.
In FFA, boosting can be prevented by counting how often you have played against a certain opponent. If it is more than X times per Y weeks, and you play again with this player, you shouldn’t gain or loose rank points anymore.
In Team games we see a big advantage for the team that hosts the game. They can select with whom they want to play, and tend to select the stronger players. In team games we want to build a ‘random’ option, where the game puts players in the teams based on their skills, to make even teams. Only clan battles and parties would allow people to pick their team members, and match them up against other clans and parties.
Everyone plays a lot Unfortunately, we can’t force people to play Curve Fever. But if a player likes Curve Fever, he will play it a lot, unless he gets ladder anxiety. Ladder anxiety is when you got to a really good position on the ladder and have done so by a very big effort. At this point you might become afraid to lose your rank points when you keep on playing. Stopping playing, to save your rank, is then a valid option.
We have two ideas to solve this. Firstly, we want to split the rank into your visible rank, and a (hidden) bonus pool. The visible rank and bonus together form your true strength, but only the rank is shown. The bonus pool works as a multiplier: If you win, you get extra points from the bonus pool (+10 rank points + 10 bonus pool points). If you lose, you don’t get any minus rank points, as the points are deduced from your bonus pool. Every day, we will put some points from your rank to your bonus pool. Thus if you don’t play every day, you will automatically lose positions on the ladder.
Secondly we want people to give the option to ‘reset’ their rank. A large amount of their rank will be transferred into their bonus pool, giving them the opportunity to start playing on a more relaxed level, without feeling like they are wasting a lot of time.
People don’t drop out / rage quit This problem is very apparent when playing with new players, and when playing in team games. In the ‘wood’ league, we want the games to last pretty short, so most newbies don’t want to leave anyway (say max 5 minutes). In team games this stays a problem, but with random teams everyone should have this problem equally often.
People don’t make new accounts In a free game we can’t force people to stop making new accounts. Moreover, it is a lot of fun to create a ‘secret’ alias to play with. We can reduce the need to let people create new accounts by making it possible to reset your account and username
In our next blogs I will talk more about Leaderboards and how we feel about Quick Play and Custom Play. So lets hop on to the next blog post about Curve Fever 3:
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