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Thread: Alternative Leaderboards and Table Goals

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Alternative Leaderboards and Table Goals

    Over the last couple of days a few topics on the forum and the announcement of the Spiderman tournament got me thinking that the current leaderboards for FX 2 is not really giving an accurate representation of the true skill of a player. I'll admit upfront that irrespective of which classification system is used, the top players will inevitably be at the top...

    With this I'm more thinking along the lines of constantly being challenged while I'm playing. At the moment, your main goal is to get as big a score as you can on the table, get all three achievements and get to the Wizard mode. Once you have achieved that... all you have left is to up your score which relates to a bigger superscore. Eventually you get to a point where upping you top score means a game of many hours and usually at that point the desire to keep on playing the table is not there any more. Enough has already also been said about how unbalanced superscore is.

    Using the above, and a rant I had on what I want out of a table in another thread (http://forum.zenstudios.com/showpost...0&postcount=38) as a premise, I would like to start a discussion on what you would like to see in a leaderboard which would encourage you to keep on playing. Zen is already capturing loads of different stats on the new tables so it would be great if they could be put to good use for the leaderboards.

    One nice example for me of a varied leaderboard classification that comes to mind is the Tour the France leaderboard where you have: Overall (Team, Individual and Youth), King of the Mountains, Points Classification and Combative for each stage and for the whole of the race. This classification reward cyclist for their various strengths and focus areas per day and over the whole of the race.

    Here is some leaderboard classification ideas for Pinball Fx 2 to get the discussion started:

    Per Table:

    - Highest Score
    - Achievements
    - Table missions/mode's completed (in addition to those required for Wizard mode) - per game and overall. See * below for an explanation.
    - Wizard modes completed - per game and overall
    - Table ranking that is a combination of the above stats. See ** below for a suggestion for how it possibly can be calculated.
    - Points System. See *** below for some suggestions.

    Overall:

    - Superscore ranking - as it is at the moment.
    - Wizard score ranking - as it is at the moment.
    - Combined Table ranking score for all the tables (including an adequately weighted tournament bonus).
    - Overall Points system - See *** below for some suggestions.

    * For each table in addition to the missions to complete to get to Wizard Mode you also have quite a few other missions/modes e.g. using Wolverine as an example - Adamantium mode, Rage Frenzy, Fastball Special, Amnesia, Regeneration, Orbit Combo's and Activation of Claw Save.

    ** The whole idea of this table ranking value is to firstly give an overall representation of you mastery of a table and then secondly to represent that value in a comparative way with the other tables so that it can have an equally weighting in the combined table ranking score. I believe a table ranking system like this will go a long way towards encouraging players to play a table to it's fullest e.g. I have not once attempted to get all the mutations on Biolab.

    I'm not a statistician or a maths wiz so I might not take into consideration all that needs to be considered to calculate this value adequately and in a way that it is robustly balanced - Zen can hire somebody to get it right . I'll give it a shot though to try and explain:

    My calculation for this value would be something along the lines of: highest score(weighted) x achievements x overall missions/modes x overall wizard modes completed / 1000 (to make the final number a more manageable figure). Here is a simple example: 350mil x 3 achievements x 7 missions/modes x 8 wizard mode completions / 1000 = 85. To get the scoring balance right though for the amount of effort you put into each aspect of the formula you will have to play around with the weighting of each value (e.g. wizard mode rather x half the times that you have finished it). The achievements and missions/modes value can also possibly be combined to simplify the calculation as often times the achievements are awarded for completing certain missions/modes and for most tables completing wizard mode.

    For the second part of the idea to be realised a weighting system will need to be put in place so that the score on each table that is used in the table ranking calculation carries the same weight e.g. Spiderman top score is say 500 billion and Mars is 10 Billion. To bring Spiderman in line for the table ranking value calculation with Mars it needs to be divided by 50. A better way perhaps to calculate this adjusted table value would be to not just take the top score, but to take the average of the top 100 scores for each table and then to divide it by the value required to bring it in line with the other tables scoring. In that way one aberrant score e.g. Blue's score on Biolab won't unbalance the system.

    Hope you get the idea... I'm sure the clever guys will know how to work it so that each table carries the same weight - I don't know if the table score weighting should be used already in calculating the tables ranking or if the adjustment should take place only when you work out the table ranking

    *** In addition to the normal scoring systems a point system can be implemented as well. With the point system ZEN can reward players for e.g. the amount of hours played, completing wizard mode, completing all the modes/mission on a table, achieve certain weekly goals, break a certain benchmark scores on a table. A bonus system can also be implemented where you get points for being one of the first players to e.g. completed wizard mode on a new table released, complete all the modes/mission on a table, achieve certain weekly goals or break certain benchmark scores on a table.

    I believe a point system like this will keep the weekly interest going and will reward players for their long term loyalty to ZEN. ZEN can then use the point system to reward players from time to time with early-release codes etc.
    Last edited by Cloda; 07-15-2011 at 02:13 PM. Reason: spelling

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    I appreciate the effort you put into this post, but a system like this is too complicated for the average Xbox LIVE player. The ranking metric needs to be as simple as possible (i.e. explain it to a nine-year-old in three sentences).

    I would like Zen to add tiered goals to all of the tables as seen in the Williams Pinball Hall of Fame compilation. Regarding weekly challenges, I hope they don't turn FX2 into Halo/CoD just to broaden its audience. The level progression system in the 2.5 update already sounds tacky.
    They took our pinball machines!
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    Grab a pitchfork and come with Zen!

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    Quote Originally Posted by blue View Post
    I appreciate the effort you put into this post, but a system like this is too complicated for the average Xbox LIVE player. The ranking metric needs to be as simple as possible (i.e. explain it to a nine-year-old in three sentences).

    I would like Zen to add tiered goals to all of the tables as seen in the Williams Pinball Hall of Fame compilation. Regarding weekly challenges, I hope they don't turn FX2 into Halo/CoD just to broaden its audience. The level progression system in the 2.5 update already sounds tacky.
    I'd heard nothing about this. Could you expand upon that any?

    I don't think the idea of daily/weekly challenges is bad at all. Quite frankly I wouldn't care if it broadened its audience or not...as I don't see that as the primary goal of such a feature. I really like the idea as it gives you specific reasons (similar to the cheevos) to fire up a table and give it some play time. Otherwise, the tendency is to set some kind of personal and arbitrary goal for a table, achieve it, and then throw a drop cloth over the table. I guess I kind of like the idea of having the occasional incentive to revisit a table I haven't given much play to. Others are bound to have feelings on the contrary to mine, however, and I understand that.

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    Interesting thread.

    I agree that any system should be simple. People need to get it instantly.

    And any system should take in to account the large differences in table scores and difficulties. It makes no sense to me to compare performance on Extreme with performance on, say, Captain America. Apples, Oranges.

    This is why the current Superscore system doesn't work.

    I also think that the results should be tangible. As I've mentioned before, what about giving a medal count, rather than a score? People like glittery baubles and trophies.

    e.g. Are you number 1 on your Friends list for a certain table? You get a gold medal. 2nd gets a silver, third a bronze. The player with the most (valuable) medals wins. An advantage of this system is that players can graphically see their standing, and the nature of their standing. (e.g. gets lots of second places, no firsts.)

    Other medals could be awarded for other accomplishments. Such as a medal per Wizard mode completed. Or starting multiball x times on one ball. Contracts, daily and weekly tasks, etc. (It's vital that all players, from n00b to expert, be able to collect accomplishments.)

    In an ideal world, Cheevos could be a good basis for earning medals but unfortunately their difficulty curves are all over the place. (30G for defeating Ultimo vs 30G for defeating 10 Friends...)
    Last edited by Womble; 07-16-2011 at 04:45 AM.

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    Why dont they just implement a percentage system per table? IE high scoring tables you only X% of your top score as super score. Lower scoring tables gives a higher percentage. Its simple, people get it, and it would be pretty easy to implement.

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    Thanks Guys for the feedback. With regards to keeping the system for the ranking metric simple; It is kind of ironic for me that the leaderboard system for a game that is actually quite complicated once you start playing it to its full extent and where your really have to study up the rulesheet for some of the tables to get anywhere e.g. Blade and Earth Defence, should be basic and simple so that the players can understand it.

    I have played many games popular under the masses e.g. UFC Undisputed 2010, Forza 3 and even Ms. Splosion man (time, shoes, destruction etc.), where they have ranking systems that use some kind of multiplier or other formula to determine how your ranking increases based on your difficulty settings, character level and/or skill level.

    The system I proposed can look quite complicated but in effect it can be explained in a simple sentence, without having to explain all the finer details. E.g. Combined table ranking - Is the combined score of all your table rankings where by each tables ranking is a combination score for that table which is calculated from your high score, total modes/missions completed and the amount of times you have completed the wizard mode. Well... I'm not a word smith, so I'm sure the sentence can be expressed in a clearer and more elegant way... but it is quite straight forward in meaning.

    For the casual player that would be more than enough explanation and they can still focus on their table high scores, superscore and wizard mode scores. But for the players that have a deeper understanding of the table rules, wizard modes etc. this table ranking score should have much more meaning and significance and will provide a bigger long term challenge.

    Anyway, the long and the short of it for me is that I would really like a leaderboard system that clearly reflect a players overall skill and understanding of a table, comparable to his fellow players, and where you can have a balanced overall score where the score from each table is so weighted that it contribute in equal measure to it.
    Last edited by Cloda; 07-18-2011 at 09:00 AM. Reason: spelling and small edit

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    If Zen do come up with a new method of calculating superscore will everyone start from zero or is it possible for them to look at past table peformance?

    Regarding the above suggestions I think Lexandro's is a great idea and would be simple to implement.

    I liked the idea of weekly challenges in theory but have been struggling to really think of any that would motivate me. Also they have to appeal to a wide range of skill levels which is difficult.

    I think the most unused statistic is "time" and that its a good measure of skill.
    For example I can grind my way to the wizard mode of Wolverine by constantly activating the ball save and repeating missions that I fail but Im sure a more skillful player could complete it much quicker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alipan View Post
    If Zen do come up with a new method of calculating superscore will everyone start from zero or is it possible for them to look at past table peformance?

    Regarding the above suggestions I think Lexandro's is a great idea and would be simple to implement.

    I liked the idea of weekly challenges in theory but have been struggling to really think of any that would motivate me. Also they have to appeal to a wide range of skill levels which is difficult.

    I think the most unused statistic is "time" and that its a good measure of skill.
    For example I can grind my way to the wizard mode of Wolverine by constantly activating the ball save and repeating missions that I fail but Im sure a more skillful player could complete it much quicker.
    Thanks for the feedback... I like your idea on bringing in time as an additional measure of skill.

    If I was the one that was going to update the leaderboard system - without knowing anything about the limitations that ZEN might have to implement it - I would include all the criteria I proposed above. High Score, Super score and Wizard score should stay because there are many players that will only be interested in that - I for one never look at Wizard Score - it doesn't carry any weight for me. I would though add the other two leaderboards as well (table ranking and points) - especially the table ranking as it will be able to tell me more about a players actual overall skill on a table.

    I thought about the table ranking a bit more and really think it can be possible to implement it. Think about Spiderman for one... now that it is explained, everybody knows that when you start your game you clone chaos scores are determined by high how you have been able to increase you villain levels in a single game. Now for the table ranking leaderboard it would use the same principle, you would know before you start the game by how much your final score will be multiplied to get your table ranking (unless you obviously improve during that game) and just like superscore Zen can show the calculation happen after you have finished the game e.g.:

    Score - 500 million
    Missions/Mode's - 7 (out of 13)
    Wizard Mode's - 3 (1 + amount of times you have completed Wizard Mode)

    Calculation: 500 x 7 x 3 = 10 500
    Table Rank Score: 105

    Sorry, couldn't remember exactly how it is presented but I'm sure you get my drift. For both Missions/Mode's and Wizard Mode it is similar to Spiderman's Villain scores - the maximum amount/times you have completed it during one game (not necessarily that game). As was discussed before... this is the basis of the calculation, but the maths/stats. wizards can play with it so that it is comparable between tables - either during this calculation or when it is included in the overall table ranking calculation.
    Last edited by Cloda; 07-21-2011 at 10:43 AM. Reason: spelling and small edits

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    Default Continuaton of discussion

    There is a continuation of this discussion on another thread called "Think of some new achievements" if you want to follow it further.
    Williams Pinball: Classic Arcade scores (Wizard Mode and/or Achievement)

    FT - 241.1M (1); TGW - 684.6M (1); JY - 99.7M (1); MM - 376M (1)

    AFM - 10 162.2M (0); BR - 41M (1); PZ - 37.8M (1)

    Cloda's somewhat vain and sort of self-indulgent thread

  10. #10
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    Something that has been bothering me for a long time! Maybe now is the time to revisit it with the imminent release of the first Williams / Bally tables.

    I would mostly love to see my suggested "Per Table" leaderboard implemented.
    Williams Pinball: Classic Arcade scores (Wizard Mode and/or Achievement)

    FT - 241.1M (1); TGW - 684.6M (1); JY - 99.7M (1); MM - 376M (1)

    AFM - 10 162.2M (0); BR - 41M (1); PZ - 37.8M (1)

    Cloda's somewhat vain and sort of self-indulgent thread

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