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Jaguar

Improving the handicap mutator

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I believe the general consensus is that the handicap mutator makes little difference, and I think this should be addressed. Critically, I think the mutator should let the losing player have /fun/. Time for some brainstorming! 

I think a good potential direction is for the mutator to apply a multiplier to damage output and/or damage resistance (regardless of armours). I also think rather than having it scale as the score differential increases isn't necessarily the best thing. I was thinking perhaps a scaleable mutator that you can vote for. e.g. vote for a 2x multiplier to damage output, or a 1.2x multiplier. That way as the player learns new things and progresses, they can request a smaller multiplier than they previously used and get a sense of achievement/improvement.

Some testing would probably be required to see just how much extra damage output a good player could handle, but I think this would go a long way towards letting a complete noob take a fight and have some fun. Perhaps it doesn't even matter if it means the player with the mutator is going to win. Good players won't care and it'd be fun to figure out ways to handle the situation (although being careful not to turn it into a bolt fest).

The game really needs to handle this better to increase new player retention. A new player is most likely to get a duel as their first game (they might queue for ffa and not get a game but you only need /one/ player to get a duel, right?). It's crushing for a new player to get stomped and we all know even a small skill difference can lead to 50:0 games. Let's soften the inevitable early blows and let new players have FUN fighting, trying out the weapons, and jumping around the map. Let them know they're being afforded an advantage that they can opt to scale down if they want to improve.

Lastly, @shooter, how does the handicap mutator currently work? I believe it increases stack progressively in line with point difference?

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Nexuiz had a console variable to set handicap, where the higher it went, the less damage you did and the more damage you took. It made a difference at very high values; you play against a newbie and have to think because any hit would nearly kill.

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Don't ONLY reduce the damage that the handicapped player has - imagine a situation where the better player is handicapped. Neither player would do damage in a fight because the noob can't aim/would get dodged and the handicapped player's damage is reduced. The better player can then choose when to run and use his superior movement to fall back on hp/armors. Game never ends etc. I support making the handicapped player take more damage as well.

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I think it's bad idea to scale damage either way if the point of the mutator is to make the games less frustrating for weaker players. This makes fighting inconsistent between non-handicap and handicap games. You'll develop habits where you think you can take fights with lower stacks simply because the enemy deals less damage. Basically "Oh I can probably survive 2 directs" should never be a thought process if you have <=200 stack. You should instead buff/nerf players by changing the amount of health/armor/weapons they spawn with since this will result in scenarios that also apply in "real" games. So let's say we want the better player to do 0.5x damage then it's better to just double the amount of stack the weaker player has.

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One of the reason the current system doesn't work is because (correct me if I'm wrong) the players that has the lowest score gets a spawn armor and health boost, even if it is the better player. This is not good, the handicap must target one particular player, whatever the score is.

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2 hours ago, Kyto said:

I think it's bad idea to scale damage either way if the point of the mutator is to make the games less frustrating for weaker players. This makes fighting inconsistent between non-handicap and handicap games. You'll develop habits where you think you can take fights with lower stacks simply because the enemy deals less damage. Basically "Oh I can probably survive 2 directs" should never be a thought process if you have <=200 stack. You should instead buff/nerf players by changing the amount of health/armor/weapons they spawn with since this will result in scenarios that also apply in "real" games. So let's say we want the better player to do 0.5x damage then it's better to just double the amount of stack the weaker player has.

That is absolutely fair, and I was aware of it - my reasoning was the weaker player would be aware of what was going on, so should also be aware of the risk of forming bad habits. If they decide to get serious about it, they'd obviously strive to not need any kind of handicap system. I'm also thinking about the game of go, where the weaker player can start with some of their stones already on the board. As they get better, they reduce that number of stones. Fun fact, that is where martial art grades/belts come from (white belt would be 9th kyu, 9 stones, etc etc). And of course, it would give them a fun game, hopefully.

 

1 hour ago, Goulox said:

One of the reason the current system doesn't work is because (correct me if I'm wrong) the players that has the lowest score gets a spawn armor and health boost, even if it is the better player. This is not good, the handicap must target one particular player, whatever the score is.

A very good point!

 

9 hours ago, Sharqosity said:

Don't ONLY reduce the damage that the handicapped player has - imagine a situation where the better player is handicapped. Neither player would do damage in a fight because the noob can't aim/would get dodged and the handicapped player's damage is reduced. The better player can then choose when to run and use his superior movement to fall back on hp/armors. Game never ends etc. I support making the handicapped player take more damage as well.

Also a very good point! There's never a simple solution eh. This is why i'm thinking different types of handicap mutator would be a nice option. That way you're aware of what you're getting (free extra damage to the scale of x, or free global damage resistance to the tune of y).

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