A cliché activity
A few days ago, a newly launched mobile game “Hundred Scenes of the South of the Yangtze River” launched its first event: Cooking Competition.
The general rules of the activity are as follows: Players need to exchange various materials into spices in the inn, and then find the royal kitchen on the map, and provide them with spices to cook. Each time they make a good dish, they will get a gold medal.
The number of gold medals is equal to the scores in the group stage. Players participating in the event are randomly assigned (or according to the time of participation in the event?). They are ranked in the group according to their scores. At the end of the event, they will follow the corresponding In the ranking range to be rewarded.
This seemingly cliché activity mechanism has produced some terrible moths, turning the whole activity into a strange game theory experiment.
Become a game of games!
The first is a relatively minor indirect reason. In the past, the ranking requirements for first-class rewards in such game activities were relatively harsh, which caused ordinary casual players and novice players to abandon the competition for the top spot.
And “Hundred Scenes of the South of the Yangtze River” may be based on the positioning of “casual games”, and the first prize requirement is widened: the top 100, and basically the number of active users in a group will not exceed 500 name.
In other words, as long as you get the top 20-30% of the rankings, you can get the highest reward. This temptation makes a large number of players who are not accustomed to high-intensity rankings to participate in the game.
The next reason can be said to directly change the nature of this event: in the same team, two players with the same number of gold medals will get the same ranking. This setting seems fair and normal, but it will make the “top 100” players more than a hundred.
In extreme terms, if all players in a group control the same score, then all the players will be the first, and they will all get the first prize. And if a group has nine first places with 300 points, the player with 299 points will not be judged as tenth, but second.
The temptation of this optimal solution has changed the nature of the game. Players who discovered this cooperative solution early began to spontaneously change their name and call for cooperation:
It is not difficult to prove that according to the rules, if the group’s first score is less than or equal to one hundred, all members must be in the top one hundred. This group reached a very good cooperative solution under the appeal of the first place with the head of Buddha.
And some groups are not so lucky. The top players either did not find a cooperative solution, or found that their scores were too high too late. The top few of many groups got more than 300 points in the middle of the event. As a result, the players behind are in a very passive state.
In fact, with a little reasoning, we can conclude that the difficulty for all players to win the first prize does not depend on the first, second, third place in the group, but depends on the 90 to 100 players in the group.
Assuming that the first to 99 places in group a are up to 300, and the 100th place has only 50 points, then the theoretical first prize score of this group is only 50 points; and if the first place in group b next door is only 200 Unfortunately, the 100th place also has 99 points, so the first prize of group b will be 99 points, which is higher than that of group a.
Coupled with the strange ranking logic of “the number of people with higher scores than the xth place may be greater than x-1”, in theory, as long as there are a few hundred players with lower scores and their names are changed to call for cooperation, the members of the group It is also easier to get the highest reward.
However, the ranking of this activity only gave limited information, making the conditions for reaching a cooperative solution more demanding and complicated.
According to my account power leveling these days-my mother’s feedback, at the beginning of the event, when I was in the 80s, I can see the scores of the top 30 in the game, and then the ranking increased to 60 When will I see the scores of the top forty?
It is reasonable to guess that the leaderboard only displays 50 people from high to low, and the scores in the early stage of the event are not separated, so there are more than 30 people displayed, and the number of people with the same score is reduced in the later stage (unfortunately we are in a non-cooperative group). So the fiftieth person is in the forty.
That is to say, when there are 80 or even 100 people away, the players neither know the first prize score of their group, nor whether the player who can determine the first prize score chooses to cooperate. When these players decide their own strategies, they can only gradually try and error or refer to the scores of the top 50 players in the group that theoretically does not have much reference value.
At this time, a particularly interesting phenomenon appeared: purely mathematically speaking, if the top players have scored more than one hundred points due to various circumstances, then they are no longer responsible for determining the first prize points. You can free yourself to compete for the first place, as long as there are enough casual players within a hundred to play passively, the first prize score will not be too high.
However, the reality is that only the first fifty players in the group can “voice”, and their attitude determines the strategic tendency of the entire group in a sense. Especially the top players, who are at the top of the list, will be the first to be seen by all players who open the score interface. The top few who often take cooperation are the key to promoting the cooperation of the whole group.
This is why many players see their team’s first and second place scores of three or four hundred or even rising at every turn, and they will have very negative emotions. Some players spit out posts, and some simply dispelled the idea of entering the top 100, and even gave up the event and used the materials in other places.
The evolution and problems of the “cream system”
I have to admit that as a game game or even a “social experiment”, this cooking competition has all the elements, exciting and fun. You can find the optimal solution from it, you can use strategies to promote group cooperation as the top player, or use incomplete information to estimate the time cost you need to pay as a player with less than a hundred.
I even think that if there is a game specifically designed for various gaming environments, so that all players can participate in online cooperation or confrontation, it will definitely be very fun.
But here is a strange thing worth reflecting on:
Intuitively speaking, the designer’s design focus should be the production gameplay of “materials for spices and spices for medals” mentioned at the beginning of the article. Players only need to play in this system, and the “ranking list” is The addition of this gameplay.
In this scenario, it shouldn’t be wrong for a player to use proper methods to try to get higher scores in the game. But as we discussed in the previous section, the reality is that many players want to stop playing this activity directly for everyone’s benefit.
In many cases, the basic gameplay is obscured by another set of reward systems on it. It’s like a cake. Most of what should be called “cake” is completely covered by cream. When we buy birthday cakes, what we care most about is the form of cream and fruit.
This kind of “cream system” was first revealed in the earliest video games. Most arcade games have built-in points and leaderboard systems to encourage players to play a certain game repeatedly. Many subsequent console games also inherited this system. Of course, the difficulty of the game at that time could not be the same as today. For most players, constantly clearing the game is already challenging enough, and finding high score strategies is the pursuit of a few “high play”.
I think that compared with the old video games, the cream system in video games today has undergone huge changes. The most important of these is the combination of the cream system and permanent character growth in the game.
The popularity of home consoles makes it possible for the character’s permanent numerical growth. The points obtained by defeating monsters can be used not only for scoring, but as “experience points” to provide growth for the game characters. Similarly, the original hidden area only provided scores or health supplements, etc., but now players can be given equipment or monetary rewards. The cream system has transformed from points and consumables into substantial rewards such as experience points and money, beginning to affect the strength of the game’s characters from all levels.
Around 2010, there was a wave of “rpgization” in the game industry, and designers have added elements of character growth to various games.
On the one hand, numerical rewards can give players a very direct stimulation without the novel mechanism design and moving plot, thereby reducing design pressure. On the other hand, using the designed character abilities as collectibles can increase the player’s game time at low cost.
It can be said that in the earliest games, if you are not a competitive person, you can completely ignore the cream on the cake and concentrate on enjoying the game process, while those who want to seek higher challenges in the game can focus on the cream System.
But in many games today, if any player wants to experience the full content of the game, he must learn to play on a cream level.
Because as of today, the cream system has been strongly bound to various basic systems in the game. In the first generation of “Doom”, all kinds of hidden rooms and collections will only provide consumables such as life armor and ammunition. Even the guns obtained in advance in the hidden room can be obtained normally in the subsequent process.
In 2020’s “Doom: Eternity”, additional collection items include character data upgrades, weapon upgrades and a hidden weapon. Some of these collection items include the basic gameplay of the game: combat, and some are purely looking for a hidden cream system. Of course, these rewards are not necessary for clearance, but how many players can convince themselves to ignore the cool weapon modifications and practical character upgrades?
This is not a bad thing in some games: for example, in “Diablo”, the boundary between cream and cake is even very blurred. The whole game is to kill enemies to obtain equipment that can provide various numerical rewards, research builds, and challenge stronger enemies after the strength increases.
The various systems are very closely integrated, and it is difficult for you to distinguish between the basic gameplay and the additional reward system. But such games also often have to face a lot of dull and repetitive tasks.
In online games, this problem is even more obvious. There are two reasons. First, as mentioned earlier, in addition to the desire for rewards, players will also have the fear of not getting enough growth and falling behind, which makes it more difficult for players. Actively choose to ignore those cream systems linked to permanent growth.
The second is that in an online game in operation, the continuous demand for new content will make designers use the cream system as a convenient method, a way to generate new content at low cost. But the new content generated in this way is often lacking in gameplay.
In the culinary contest, players worry that they did not get the highest reward of this event, and that they were opened up by others. It will be more difficult to keep up with the next activity and fall into a vicious circle. The motive for victory was too strong, and at this time, the possibility of cooperative solution appeared.
For the players who like to hit high scores, the binding of the cream system and the direct interests of the players puts them on an unnecessary moral burden and cannot play the game according to their wishes; and for players who do not like the “liver” Said that they have to pursue “cream” for profit and endure the way they don’t like the game.
Not only the cooking competition, it can be said that most of the online game activities have such problems. It is only because this event happened to have a cooperative game environment that the status quo of giving up everything is more obvious.
The reward mechanism is novel and fancy, but the actual gameplay is very boring. In the end, it is the reward of the activity that prompts the player to continue the game. The rewards must be attractive enough to either increase the cost of the artist or increase its numerical bonus. The latter will further promote the fear of the player, and eventually create a strange situation where the player does not like to play but has to play.
This seems to produce a cycle of player motivation, but it is not necessarily a good thing for the operation of the game. Because this will inevitably consume players’ enthusiasm for this game.
Just as a cake made of cream is very tiring to eat, I think one of the worst forms of using the cream system is to use the cream system to conceal other weaknesses or even lack of it.
After all, if a game puts the most effort into the reward system, then from the perspective of how it attracts players, calling it “electronic heroin” does not seem to be a big problem.
Here I can give an extreme example. It is the recent emergence of many h5 mini games that “play to a certain level and rebate”. Such games often have no gameplay design. They simply use rebates to entice users to click into the game and use the built-in advertising to make money. I don’t even know whether to call it a game or a scam software.
After this event, I corrected my mentality of playing “Hundred Scenes of the South of the Yangtze River”. Since I first downloaded the game because I was attracted by its art, it would be better to arrange it slowly by myself, and I don’t have to be led by the game activities. Walk with nose.
So in the end, I want to appeal to all readers, when you feel painful and compelled in the game, please remember your original intention of playing the game, is it to enjoy the fun of competition? Is it to experience the rich or sophisticated gameplay? Or is it to appreciate the excellent art and plot of the game?
Either way, if you can’t get the experience you want at this moment, you may wish to change the game. And if you can’t satisfy yourself no matter how you play a certain game, just put it down.
Author: Qin Xun
Source: Machine Core
Original address: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/lvK_kMN6lMVywQLrpZBaVg