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What's up with the crazy slingshots?

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  • #31
    There were a decent amount of us who pointed out many of the easy tables that were coming out. We didn't outright complain about them but we noted that certain tables didn't hold our interest because they were too easy. In regards to long, marathon pinball games I guess it comes down to a matter of preference. I love long in depth strategy games like Civilization, XCOM, Cities Skylines, etc. But I don't play pinball for long games. I like shorter sessions 15-30 minutes max. I like short games that really challenge me and are difficult to reach and complete the wizard mode. I have played the new Castlestorm once and completed the wizard mode on my first game. In fact, I haven't touched the table since that first game and it's still saved so I don't think I have actually completed a game of Castlestorm. That happens to me with a lot of tables. I've had around 15 saved games wiped out with Steam updates because I just get bored with them and stop playing.

    I can understand where some of the complaints are coming from. The active slings are a challenge for the more novice players. And many of the Zen modes are more difficult than the average real life table because the table's are set up in such a way that it is easy to control the ball and keep it in play and having more active slings may make these tough modes even harder.

    I'm not sure how you cater to everyone's preference. Easy tables don't keep my interest while others clearly hate the tables with active slings. I like the idea of an operator's menu adjustment to change the slingshot setting. But do you make the weaker or stronger slings the default setting which effects leaderboard standings. I don't really care about leaderboards because they are more a measure of stamina than of skill. So I wouldn't mind if weaker slingshots are the default and have strong slings as an adjustment. But make sure having stronger slingshots does not deactivate leaderboards or achievements (similar to DMD color change). Though this idea might not sit well with those who like strong slingshots AND actually care about leaderboards.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by DiscoKing View Post
      A compromise
      Slings should be normal (like the earlier tables). However, after beating wizard mode (as most tables have one) the table resets win or lose the wizard mode once the table resets the slings become more powerful. This makes it like a new game + which is what most games do they allow you to play from the begining at a higher difficulty. And say you get to wizard mode again beat it and table resets increase the slings even more and with each table rest the slings could continue to increase. Now try taking a table to wizard mode 6 times ---that would be hard and on each "new game +" and slings increase you could also increase point values so that someone who risks going to wizard 3 times could out score someone choosing not to go to wizard and just spam a certain mode. Take the table to wizard 3 times then spam that mode and yikes points galore. This also helps novice players because if they can't take the table to wizard then they shouldn't have to suffer the slings that would kill them when they already die in so many countless ways.

      After you "die" a new game starts over at level 1 normal slings and normal point values. You'll have to play another good game to work it back up.

      Think pac-man with each new level the ghosts got faster, the power pellets turning them blue timer was shorter, but the point values were higher instead of 100 point cherries you had 1000 point pretzels (or whatever- don't attck me for my lack of pac-man fruit knowledge)

      Anyway I think this compromise would make all parties happy. Again I'm on the point 2 side but I think people who support point 1 would like this idea too.

      How does this sound as a compromise????
      I really like this idea. It would probably get me back in playing the game aggressively again.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by deep View Post
        Thanks for the compliments! I understand you guys all, and will work on a solution in future tables that works for everyone. Maybe with a selectable difficulty at the start of the table? The easy diffulty could have much lower scores but weak slings, and the harders higher scores and stronger slings... What do you think guys? In the meantime, I tweaked the slings further on the Star Wars Rebels table to make them not so punishing. I played it a lot and there are much less outlanes because of them.
        Thank you for coming into this thread to discuss this topic with us. Its very cool when the designers come here and the community is able to interact and talk with the people who are making the game we all play

        I would like to say that I don't want the game to get easier. I want the challenge that I get fron Zen. I only want it to be fair in regards to uncontrollable drains from the slings. Thats not to say I want them to be 100% safe, just fair, and I think its safe to say alot of us appreciate you tuning them as you have more recently and thanks for going back over Rebels to make sure they were not so...deadly. Anyway, it sounds like you guys are committing to a 3 tier difficulty level with the tables, so may I suggest this going forward:

        Let the current way the tables are stand as Normal/Medium difficulty. I dont think the slings need to go back to the real early tables. Just tune them up/ tone them down slightly and I think they will be just fine and acceptable to the majority of us. No progressive difficulty after wizard mode. This will give people a chance to continue on to more wizard modes and points that way, or spam a high points mode without feeling like they have to play a new game+ with an increase in difficulty they may not want. Leaderboards and Trophies/Achievements enabled, of course.

        Now I'm going to use Alipan & Disco's ideas. Credit to them:

        Hard/Pro Difficulty. This is were you can up the slings to brutal level. Maybe increase the slope a bit, make the pop bumpers go crazy, and get even progressively tougher after a Wizard mode. Not sure whether you want to start off on Normal or slam em from the beginning, but I suppose those that want to play this difficulty want it from the start. Increase the point payoff on all modes. Leaderboards and Trophies/Achievements enabled, of course.

        Easy/Beginner Difficulty. I have no interest in this, but I suppose some might. So just like the operator menu, turn it down. Make the slings weak. Give the beginners an opportunity to see the table and its modes without wanting to smash a controller against a wall. Let em practice here, and when theyre ready they can step up to the big leagues at their own discretion. Now heres the dilemma...do you enable leaderboards here? I dont know. I guess it depends on how you guys balance the points between the three. Personally, I say no leaderboards. It could be too easy for a high skilled player to just go marathon and abuse a high scoring mode for a little less points but alot less risk.

        One things for sure: Easy/Beginner difficulty equals Trophies/Achievements DISABLED!!! The trophies, or at least the Wizard mode ones, are a test of skill, and those at the very least should remain as such and only be able to be earned at the difficulty level they are now. Whatever you do, dont nerf the trophies!! (Yeah yeah, some, maybe most, couldnt care less but those of us who do, like em the way they are and want them to remain hard)

        Ok, thats what I propose. I think this would be a great way to go forward, and it should give everybody what theyre looking for in regards to challenge.
        Last edited by MarkItZeroSmoky; 04-17-2015, 08:05 AM.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by MarkItZeroSmoky View Post
          Thank you for coming into this thread to discuss this topic with us. Its very cool when the designers come here and the community is able to interact and talk with the people who are making the game we all play

          I would like to say that I don't want the game to get easier. I want the challenge that I get fron Zen. I only want it to be fair in regards to uncontrollable drains from the slings. Thats not to say I want them to be 100% safe, just fair, and I think its safe to say alot of us appreciate you tuning them as you have more recently and thanks for going back over Rebels to make sure they were not so...deadly. Anyway, it sounds like you guys are committing to a 3 tier difficulty level with the tables, so may I suggest this going forward: ...
          You are welcome I enjoy it to discuss stuff with you guys. We thank you for your feedback. What I see is that the case is a bit more complicated than I expected it will be, so more testing and more brainstorming is necessary before any changes will be made. Keep coming your opinions, the more standpoints the better.

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          • #35
            Zen has over 50 tables by now and they vary tremendously in terms of difficulty. My proficiency has grown along with Zen with my first table that I ever reached wizard mode on being Rome. That was one tough table to have as a learning school, but in the end it taught me a lot about playing this game. It took me many months later to get to the point where I could score a Billion on a table etc. I have had my marathon sessions (e.g. over 24 hours for Paranormal) but at the moment I am really enjoying the opportunity to have a quick game of Deadpool where I know I will not last longer than half and hour and if I play well, I would have completed a few of the missions. I have reached the Wizard mode once and I am going to be so ecstatic on the day that I finally beat it. I appreciate the challenge as is, with slingshots and all, and wouldn't want it any other way.

            My suggestions for this all is not to tinker with difficulty levels of the physical aspects of the tables (e.g. slope, slingshot strength) so that people can choose as somehow there will always be one approach that will askew the balance towards a certain difficulty level for outscoring others on the table and it will most likely not be the more difficult levels. What Zen has done before and which I suggest they keep on doing is to ensure that the scope of tables that they release are not aimed at only one skill level player - by releasing tables in packs, they are always able to make some tables more difficult than others and thus keep a wide selection of players happy. As a players skill level increases, so will their preferences as to which tables they enjoy and the good thing is that Zen has a huge back catalogue of tables to dig into. There are certain tables e.g. Paranormal, Ms. Splosion Man that I will never play again as I just know if I want to complete even one game, it will take me hours. Tables like Blade and Fantastic 4, I still play every now and then inbetween the new tables, as they always present a challenge.

            Either way, thanks Deep and Barbie and the rest of the Zen team that you are willing to listen to your devout supporters. I'm looking forward to your new offerings.
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            Cloda's somewhat vain and sort of self-indulgent thread

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            • #36
              Deep is a designer? I had no idea. Thanks for your response, Deep.

              Would you add me to PS4? Then I can shareplay and you can see how a new player plays. My secret code name that no one knows is Fyrstar2002. Sssshhh... don't tell anyone.

              OH! I remember what I was going to write before I was stunned that a designer is reading this.... I don't even know what Wizard mode is. I am still trying to learn the angle shots for Epic Quest at the moment. I am having extreme difficulty getting the potion slot unless I hit it by accident, but it's fun learning.

              Here's what I was thinking as I was playing Walking Dead last night.... A game that relies on people knowing how/when to nudge a table (cheating in my day) is not a great idea unless the nudge is easy to use. The nudging buttons are horribly placed, even though PA uses the same format. I have no idea why the right stick isn't used as an alternate nudge button; my gf and son completely agree.

              A GREAT nudge idea would be to allow the controller to be shaken in the direction that you want the nudge. I cannot begin to describe the epic gyrations that we all perform as we try to get the ball nudged. All that you hear from us is, "NononononNoNoNoNONONONOG__DAMMIT" as we shake, rattle, and roll to get that thing nudged like the pros.

              Just a suggestion. Heck, I'd pay $100 in the next 24 hours just to have this tweak.

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              • #37
                I love DISCOKING's compromise. I'm down to my last 3 trophies in Zen 2 (Deadpool, Clone Wars, Earth Defense), and I get angry, just thinking about the slingshots on Deadpool. That's the very definition of 'unfair'. THOR was a challenging table, but I felt like every drain was my fault, even those annoying STDM's. Wizard Mode resetting the table sucked, but all it meant is that I had to get better at maintaining multiball, while still being precise with shots. No problem there. Hell, I'll take that stupid left sinkhole shot on Shaman, or 150 Tire Ramp shots on V12, over supercharged slingshots any day. With Deadpool, once the ball hits a slingshot, it's like playing Russian Roulette, except with far worse chances of actually making it out alive. I'd be happy to never see those in future tables again.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Trynyty View Post

                  A GREAT nudge idea would be to allow the controller to be shaken in the direction that you want the nudge. I cannot begin to describe the epic gyrations that we all perform as we try to get the ball nudged. All that you hear from us is, "NononononNoNoNoNONONONOG__DAMMIT" as we shake, rattle, and roll to get that thing nudged like the pros.

                  Just a suggestion. Heck, I'd pay $100 in the next 24 hours just to have this tweak.
                  Save your $100 my friend, the option is already there in the settings for PS4 And PS3 for that matter, I always use this to nudge the table and find it is indeed perfect, probably the best use of the motion controls I've found for any game. Once you get used to it, you can aim nudges and even use slight nudges that don't activate the TILT warning - handy

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by skyway73 View Post
                    Save your $100 my friend, the option is already there in the settings for PS4 And PS3 for that matter, I always use this to nudge the table and find it is indeed perfect, probably the best use of the motion controls I've found for any game. Once you get used to it, you can aim nudges and even use slight nudges that don't activate the TILT warning - handy

                    Where? WHERE!?!?!? ZOMG I MUST KNOW!!!

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Trynyty View Post
                      Where? WHERE!?!?!? ZOMG I MUST KNOW!!!
                      Under the control settings.

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                      • #41
                        Personally I really like the idea of difficulty settings and there are some cool ideas in here! But I would really like to see something very simple:

                        1) Normal mode as it is now, or maybe somewhat reduce sling strength in comparison to some tables as per the feedback in here. Whatever is good for the average player.
                        2) Hard mode with no extra balls, no lightable kickbacks/saves (start of ball saver, start of multi saver, etc is ok), leveling set to 7.5ish, perhaps generally bouncier physics/more active slings. I don't think reduced timers are needed, it will be hard enough already with these settings.

                        Instead of trying to force them into comparable scoring, I'd like to see separate leaderboards. But, I know that may not be possible. So my idea is, if they have to share the same leaderboard, just don't use the ones digit for regular points, and add 5 to the hard mode score. So it can all be on the same leaderboard, and people who are interested in it will know that scores ending in 5 are the hard mode scores. Maybe the in-game interface can reflect this, too. Anyway something along these lines can easily distinguish between hard/regular mode.

                        I really like the idea of selectable difficulty with the Ultron table, and I look forward to trying it, but I think the best thing would be to get rid of the extra balls and lightable kickbacks/saves. Those things are great for casual players, but for intermediate and advanced players, they really turn the games into a grind IMO.

                        In lieu of all that I'd really just like to see op menu settings for disabling extra balls and lightable kickbacks/saves.

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                        • #42
                          WOW ! I have seen things that must not be done.

                          First of all, i think that increasing the power of the slingshots after each wizard mode is a BIG MISTAKE that must NOT be made ! The only thing that i will do is spamming missions or multiball to avoid the wizard mode and lose your ball unfairly after that. I will score a better record without having the unfair slingshot because i will last for 6 hours, so i will avoid the wizard mode if i will last 5 minutes with unfair slingshots. It will be another table with a spamming tool and you can avoid all the others things. That will be the same thing we actually do with Thor (spam ramps to increase SERPENT score and when it's high, play mission "vs Loki" and failed it purposely after gaining 13x the SERPENT score, repeat infinitely).

                          I think the slingshots must return from what they were. If the slingshots are too strong and are tune to avoid the ball draining in he outlanes, the ball will go in the inlane => so, it's a reward ! From what they were, the ball usually do 3-5 bounces, which is a clearly loss of time in timed missions.

                          Some say about choosing difficulty at the beginning. Even if my score is divided by 10, i will go with the slingshots which don't put your balls on the outlanes, because i know i will last more than 10 times longer without them.

                          Seriously, i try to find a way to satisfy evryone but i don't find it. The only thing i can say is that a table is fun (for me) when the best way to do a high score is spamming the wizard mode, even if it's a marathon game).
                          When Mammouth will be hungry, it means that thin people will have already died

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                          • #43
                            Well like you said Mammouth, people already spam modes to get high scores WITHOUT strong slingshots. Whether you have strong or weak slingshots is not going to change that. That is a completely separate issue that has to do with balance issues in scoring. It's a difficult thing to balance. Real pinball machines have this issue as well where it makes more sense to spam certain modes than try to complete all of them. If your goal as a designer is to maximize the reward for completing all the main modes, then there are ways to mitigate the abuse of spamming modes like progressively increasing the number of shots required to start a multiball mode, making sure that the bulk of points for a main mode is given for completing a mode so that you are not incentivized to purposely fail and repeat a mode, successfully completed modes cannot be restarted, wizard modes should always be the highest scoring mode, etc.

                            @ctx, I like the idea of a hard mode. I have already suggested it as a feature I would like to see included in the next title update for the game (FX3, ZP3). A PAPA-style tournament mode where extra balls are turned off, randomness like random rewards are no longer random and are instead in a fixed order, etc. It would be great if we can have a separate "hard" mode leaderboard but I'm not sure Zen wants to go down that route. But it would be great to at least have that option. I suppose you could manually adjust a lot of the settings in the operator's menu but it would be nice to have just a dedicated tournament-style mode that makes all the adjustments for you.

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                            • #44
                              Table with spam mode to make THE high score aren't many. Except V12 where you need to spam ramps to upgrade parts and go to the "wizard mode", if we can call it like that.
                              Sometimes, spamming a mode is an easy way to make a good score but it's not the best way to make a record. I will take World War Hulk for exemple : at the beginning, i only spamed the STRENGHT multiball but it was too random to be sure to make a good score, because you need to increase the jackpot reward each time and on multiball, you have less control on all your balls and the kickbacks can go off a lot of time. After that, i only go for the wizard mode and it was more rewarding because i have more control on what i was doing.
                              So, each table can be a spamming table because it will be very easy to do that instead of doing the wizard mode but less than 30% of tables are more rewarding with a spamming tool. Spamming the multiball on ElDorado can be good when you begin and don't know all the things, but will never compete with the wizard reward.
                              When Mammouth will be hungry, it means that thin people will have already died

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                              • #45
                                Ahhh I see that more people disagree with having those crazy slingshots. I was the first one to bring it up on another thread. Glad I'm not the only one that thinks this. Unpredictable slingshots keeps me from playing tables like Deadpool and such. However, I do like some of the suggestions I've been hearing. Maybe we can somehow implement a mode that can satisfy both folks that want to play casually and those who want more of a challenge. Not that those who don't want more of a challenge are novice players like someone said above.
                                PSN ID- RayCrocheron82
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                                Tables Wishlist- Hanna-Barbera 4 pack, Holiday table, DC tables, or any Zen table...even if it's My Little Pony

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