Participation Meters Matter

July 8, 2011 at 6:38 am | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 23 Comments
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In Guild Wars 2 our participation in a Dynamic Event will be measured so that we receive an appropriate reward. There are 3 levels of rewards, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Someone who shows up late in the event and participates only tangentially would receive Bronze and so on.

The thing is I don’t think measuring participation really works, at least, if I’m going from my experience in Warhammer and Rift especially.

Rift had a temperature gauge, sort of, to measure your participation in closing a rift. The more you fought the higher the gauge would rise until it was a burning red. They removed it pretty quickly. It was gone by April I believe.

I don’t think they ever really said why, but if I had to guess I’d say it’s because it wasn’t a very good indicator of who was doing what. Inaccurate and a distraction. If I wanted to be cynical I’d say they removed it because it was a visual cue as to just how inaccurate it was.

For instance, at one rift I was on my warrior doing the tanking. It was just me and a couple others progressing through the rift, and I had been doing most of the work. At which point a rogue ranger showed up. He started using a multiple target skill and even though he wasn’t really doing much more damage than me and hadn’t been around for the first half of the rift, he ended up with better loot.

Essentially what happened was, he could spam skills faster than I could, he tagged more enemies more often, and he ended up reaping the benefits.

I don’t think you’d find many people saying the participation meter is universally fair in rift. There have been a few complaints. Healers aren’t rewarded well because their cast times are long and healing isn’t appreciated as much. People can cast instant skills that do little to help but still register as participation. If someone tags a mob first they get a bonus to participation, even if they do little else.

This last one both annoyed me and was something I exploited myself. It often provoked unwise decision making on the parts of people trying to tag as many enemies as possible, but on my own ranged dps character, I took full advantage of it to often top the participation meter.

In Rift participation often ends up mattering only a little bit. You get consumable rewards mostly, planarite that comes in heaps, and most importantly during invasions you get Source Shards and Source Stones. While consumables are fine, its shards and stones that I was always after for their zone specific rewards.

In Guild Wars 2 it sounds like we’ll mostly be after gold and a universal currency called karma. From what I know of it, it sounds like it will be more broadly used but with similar consumable rewards and a variety of other spectacular possibilities. At one point it was noted an asura might be rewarded a golem to ride in for some amount of karma.

To summarize, both games seem to have similar participation meters, and similar rewards. But if Rifts participation measurement never really was up to snuff, will Guild Wars 2’s be?

It seems like an important question. The majority of Guild Wars 2’s content are Dynamic Events and they reward players by measuring their participation. Get that wrong even slightly and there will be a lot of angry players.

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23 Comments

  1. This is something I’ve been thinking about lately and it is something that, if done wrong, could completely ruin the experience.
    Despite this I still have high hopes for the GW2 “participation meter”, mainly because of something I remember form an interview about the “fact” that if you participate and just do the things your class does you will get gold so it sounds like gold will be quite easy to achieve if you put at least some effort in the event. The thing about the events in GW2 is also that they differ from each other so participation has to be measured differently for each new type of event and thus making it fair becomes a lot harder and brin
    But i guess the only way to find out for sure if it’s gonna work out is to wait for the game to come out.

    • Interesting point about how the events will vary in content. Aside from killing stuff I wonder how other events will be measured.

  2. I agree – it’s critically important that they get the means of measuring and rewarding participation just so, or we’re in for a rough ride.

    I imagine that some of the differences with GW2 combat will correct some of the previous issues; for example, will we have many slow-casting skills versus channelled skills, such that one might feel pressured to spam their insta-casting DOT rather than a more useful, but slower-casting skill? I can think of a couple of the charge-up skills that players might forego over spamming, but that’s about it. There’s already the absence of tanking, so no worries about tanks being undercompensated for holding aggro.

    And since there’s no dedicated healer, there’s no real need, is, there, to reward healing on a separate metric than damage; if every skill use were rewarded, because no skill is really a throwaway skill, won’t it be easier to reward them that way, instead of based on the largeness of the numbers you made go up or down?

    But that’s just off the top of my head, and I could be overlooking things.

    • All good points but in some ways it makes it seem harder to measure as well. Do you reward players for healing themselves, or taking a lot of damage? How do you reward the vast array of support skills, do you note each one individually? Conditions applied, boons applied… some problems cleared up, but still others to look at.

  3. Well healers won’t get ignored because they won’t be there so that is one part that is better at least. I think tagging could be a problem with a threshold low enough that people who don’t try hard to help will still get the gold level. However, they won’t be doing better than people who do work hard. Anyone actually trying should get gold so someone who tries to tag won’t be able to earn better rewards although they might get equal rewards. Players are not each taking an ever diminishing piece of the pie, they each get a reward based on their participation no matter how many people join them.

    So taggers might receive more than they deserve, but not more than deserving players. That should make it better than what you are describing from Rift, even if it doesn’t work perfectly.

    • It’s really hard to judge the participation meter before i see it in action, but i’m hoping you’re right. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just fair enough that I don’t feel cheated all the time.

      • You know how everyone can harvest a resouce node, and each person gets the amount of the resource due them – regardless of whether or not someone else is there also harvesting the node?

        What if the participation meter is functioning akin to that? It’s not a pie, where someone can get a bigger piece, and by doing so make your piece of the pie smaller… They are just guaging whether or not you get YOUR piece of the pie, and your piece of the pie has no affect on what someone else gets.
        The counter arguement is, “Ya but, I worked harder than they did!” and the reply should be; “Then you should take personal satisfaction from how much your efforts lead to overall success… along with your standard piece of the pie.”
        The meter is a *Threshold* measure… does that make sense? No bonus for being an “over-achiever” and no special gold stars on the forehead. It’s “Pass/Fail” … not A, B, C, D, or F.

        • My point is if you work just as hard as someone else and get bronze rewards while they get silver or gold…. that could be a thorn in peoples side.

          • I would agree with you on that, however, I seriously doubt anything like that will even be possible…

        • Copy pasting my response below, because it’s relevant here too:

          The big question is a sense of “do they care about lots of golds going out?”. Part of “being different from WoW” is cutting down on the PVE competitiveness. Even RIFT has a growing vein of competitiveness of its own, much of that bled over from WoW, and if GW2 takes the “no really, just do stuff, you’ll get the gold star” approach, and not the WoW approach of making things more gruelling and competitive than they really need to be, it could work.

          Keep in mind, there’s no subscription, so they’re not beholden to be competition-supporting-hard on a PVE front, when it comes to these events. Bronze might really be just for the people that just show up for the last kill, and silver might really be for people showing up just before that.

          I’d love to see a setup where people try to game the system, only to discover that the system is so generous, that people gaming it just look dumb.

          If GW2 really wants to be different, they will evaporate the WoW (and now RIFT) idea of “I was a bigger hero than you”, and just focus on “who are the heroes? All of us.”

  4. The big question is a sense of “do they care about lots of golds going out?”. Part of “being different from WoW” is cutting down on the PVE competitiveness. Even RIFT has a growing vein of competitiveness of its own, much of that bled over from WoW, and if GW2 takes the “no really, just do stuff, you’ll get the gold star” approach, and not the WoW approach of making things more gruelling and competitive than they really need to be, it could work.

    Keep in mind, there’s no subscription, so they’re not beholden to be competition-supporting-hard on a PVE front, when it comes to these events. Bronze might really be just for the people that just show up for the last kill, and silver might really be for people showing up just before that.

    I’d love to see a setup where people try to game the system, only to discover that the system is so generous, that people gaming it just look dumb.

    If GW2 really wants to be different, they will evaporate the WoW (and now RIFT) idea of “I was a bigger hero than you”, and just focus on “who are the heroes? All of us.”

    • Yeah it’s a tough question and i don’t pretend to know the answer. If Arenanet gets super generous, that could be one solution, guild wars always a casual game, but I don’t know, there is something to be said for challenge and reward for hard work.

      • And I would contend that that “something” is “this isn’t WoW”. We’ve all been programmed by a WoW-dominated market to exist in a spirit of one-upping competition. I’d love to see a haven against that, and to be honest, an “I can buy stuff for real money to look cooler than you” stance is already snubbing competitiveness rather comfortable (part of why I love LOTRO: there’s no point of swinging one’s dick around… when your neighbor can just “buy a bigger dick”), I know that we’re talking cosmetic microtransactions (not LOTRO’s cosmetic and advantageous), but it’s still a bit of a statement of “each player is playing their story”. There’s no question “who won” in “your story”. I’m hoping that the gold rating is “you advanced your story, here ya go”, with silver and bronze as a token “you got here late for this one, but here’s something”.

        Now, PVP and WVW… that’s a great place for competition!

  5. […] Hunters Insight: Participation Meters Matter. “It seems like an important question. The majority of Guild Wars 2‘s content are Dynamic Events and they reward players by measuring their participation. Get that wrong even slightly and there will be a lot of angry players.” […]

  6. No tanks or To be Screwed. I’d just measure activity/inactivity ratio for rewards (and rewards will not be inversely proportionate to the number of participanst (unilke WAR), most probably the medall will effect how much of the reward do you get – assuming each has his predetermined reward, and than lesser help will result in less of that (if this makes any sense to you)

    • I think my problem is essentially, just how do you measure activity? what if someone using mostly support skills isn’t ranked the same as someone who does a ton of damage…

      That seems to be the problem in rift and I don’t want to see the problem repeated in gw2. Not that i’m saying it will, but, hopefully they’ve got some way around it.

      • The way around it is to be generous to the point of making the WoW kids scratch their heads at just how intuitive it is to participate and be rewarded.

        The fact that their big PVP pitch is WVW means that within one’s own “world” it’s actually counterproductive to encourage anything but co-operation, and generous rewards that we can’t screw each other out of.

        I’m tellin’ ya, this is all shaping up to be “no really, you can win, all of you, relax” within a PVE context, and that’s going to blow some WoW kids’ minds… and if it offends them, there’s always WoW.

  7. It seems the real question is what kind of metrics will be used to determine ‘participation’. When I think about how I would implement a scaling rewards system I base the system on two metrics. First I would have direct participation and then meta participation. Direct participation would be based on completing the stated goals of an event such as answering questions, putting out fires, killing centaur or delivering some item to and NPC. Meta participation would be more geared towards the support types and be gauged on how you affect those that are completing participation goals.

    A good example is putting out fires. When someone puts out a fire they get credit for helping with the event. I suspect this is done by sending an event update data package that says, “[playername] put out a fire”. It would be simple to modify the update to “[playername] put out a fire, with [playername2] speed boon, [playername2-4] regen boon, standing in [playername5] life well, etc”. The same could be done for item delivery quests.

    When tracking enemy kills the same could be done to track boons. Though a kill would be be more in-depth following is an example; “[centaur super soldier x] killed, under the effects of [playername1, 8]’s conditions, [playername1-5] dealt threshold damage, while under the effect of [playername6-8]’s boons”. Points will be awarded based on all of these factors so it behooves the player to use support, conditions and direct damage in a single fight to get the most points possible.

    Minor points could also be assigned when someone participating in the event picks up a boon so as to account for boons that may expire before the enemy dies or an objective is completed. Helping people rally would also contribute to the event.

    Server lag from too many updates may be an issue when you get thirty or forty people together though I doubt it would noticeable next to all the visual effects going off at that point.

    • Yeah it seems like a lot of activities will have very unique metrics to measure what participation is. And since there seems to be some diversity in events, if there is a more “standard” measurement practice instead of unique measurements for each event, you are in a bad position of trying to make sure each person is measured fairly for each and every event with only that standard measurement.

      So yeah. its a tough job. Either tons of work with unique measurements for every single event, or a terrible time trying to balance it for each and every event.

      • After today’s SDCC panel, it’s apparent that gaming the system to “help more than the other guy” is pretty much a dead concept in their vision, since they are working really hard to incentivize community co-operation. Any sort of “maybe I shouldn’t help” ethic, givenw hat they have been saying lately, will be designed against.

        I hate to say I told you so, but it really, REALLY looks like they’re just going to be very, very pro-participation at any level, erring, in this balancing act we’re so concerned with here, on the side of great generosity.

        Again, this will mess with overly competitive WoW kids’ heads, and again… they can be messed, for all I care! I’m loving how this is shaping up!

        • I never disagreed with you I just think that it is easier said than done. I know what their intentions are but its really hard to judge until we actually play the full game. Participation meters are an interesting way to give out rewards but I’ve yet to see a 100% functional version and I am apprehensive about gw2’s version. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t, but I don’t think we can judge by what they say or a demo.

          The proof will be in the game.

  8. I knew about this problem before playing Rift’s Beta (didn’t buy the game) and this is my #1 concern regarding GW 2 “Dynamic Event”… Folks… I’m sad to say this but there’s nothing dynamic about “Dynamic Events” in MMORPGs. They are scripted events so you will know how they work and everyone would work around them to the most benefit. They will be repetitive and they will feel “gamish”. Just like Rift’s “rifts” with the participation meter when the world is turned into a game.. like a kids Game Show you see on TV everyone trying to hit every monster first or have the kill strike on every monster. It’s a game that has nothing to do to the world.

    It’s not an adventure now… it’s a game show with a timer.. I can hear the credit music of Benny Hill in the background while I collect the blue discs from the ground to get the most points.. Sorry, I mean while I “kill” or “participate” in the…. “event”. *Sigh*.

    There’s nothing wrong with Static Content of good ol’ days. WoW invented the Quest Driven crap and now we’re going to get this “Dynamic” thing which unfortunately going to suck too. Don’t get me wrong I salute ArenaNet for not adapting the Quest Driven approach *two thumbs up* but I am extremely skeptical regarding their dynamic events. I would bet my house it will not add to the immersion or be fair at all and I’d bet you my house and car that I would prefer a normal static regular content than a scalable and scripted …. “Dynamic” event.

    • Say what you will but the rifts of Rift are the funnest part of that game, especially the invasions. It makes playing Rift worth it and that is saying something considering they have plenty of regular boring quests and other content.

      That makes me think that if you had a whole game based around good dynamic content, it will be a good game, so I’m looking forward to GW2.


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