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Thread: What's up with the crazy slingshots?

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    Junior Member Eternal21's Avatar
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    Unhappy What's up with the crazy slingshots?

    Let me start off by saying I love Zen pinball. I picked it up last summer and have been addicted ever since. My goal is to attain 100% trophy completion and I'm only 7 trophies away (though they are 7 hardest trophies ).

    After playing every single table on PS4, I noticed a trend that really worries me. Virtually all recently released tables have slingshot physics that seem very unfair. On older tables, if the ball strikes a slingshot, it may bounce a little, sometimes going back and forth between the two slingshots, but it rarely, if ever ends up going in the outlane. Not so with the newer tables. The first time I saw this was on The Walking Dead table. When the ball would strike a slingshot, it would get violently get hit back and forth and often end up draining via outlanes.

    Deadpool is another example. It's to the point I dread even touching that table to get the final trophy, because it's frustrating as hell. I understand punishing the player for making imprecise shots (like V12 table, that would drain the ball if you just looked at it wrong). But I should not be punished for having the ball hit the slingshot. Case in point, watch my capture below, where I was earning the single trophy on the Wild West Rampage table. That's a two minute game, where I drain twice due to slingshot bounces (@1:15 and @1:30):



    I don't think I'm the only one that would like to see the slingshot power toned down in the future tables. I would love to play more of the Walking Dead table for example, but the crazy slingshots are an immediate turnoff. As it is, I just earn the trophy in those cases, and move on thanking god I never have to touch the table again.
    Last edited by Eternal21; 03-05-2015 at 04:49 PM.

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    Most of it is due to many of us that want more of a 'realistic' aspect of pinball. Look at real tables to see how active they are. Many of Zen's critics are the fact the sling shots aren't active and the ball has too much weight.

    I love that the slings are active. They should still tune the table enough where you can still nudge the table enough to warrant some changes to the balls direction. As it is you can only nudge a few times before you get the 'TILT'.

    Don't change the slings Zen. Always loved it Deep first tweaked it in one of his tables.

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    Table Designer deep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tenorhero View Post
    Most of it is due to many of us that want more of a 'realistic' aspect of pinball. Look at real tables to see how active they are. Many of Zen's critics are the fact the sling shots aren't active and the ball has too much weight.

    I love that the slings are active. They should still tune the table enough where you can still nudge the table enough to warrant some changes to the balls direction. As it is you can only nudge a few times before you get the 'TILT'.

    Don't change the slings Zen. Always loved it Deep first tweaked it in one of his tables.
    I am always working on perfecting the active slings. We can now keep the power and have minimal drains because of them. I will personaly check all the future tables to ensure they are precisely tweaked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deep View Post
    I am always working on perfecting the active slings. We can now keep the power and have minimal drains because of them. I will personaly check all the future tables to ensure they are precisely tweaked.
    Sorry for going off topic but hey deep! I'm a huge fan of your tables, can't wait to see the next one.

    What was the idea behind the new slingshots anyway? I remember being surprised how you had to nudge so much on A New Hope and South Park Super Sweet Pinball. Still, any advancement in physics is usually good, so it's nice to see that.
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    Table Designer deep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain B. Zarre View Post
    Sorry for going off topic but hey deep! I'm a huge fan of your tables, can't wait to see the next one.

    What was the idea behind the new slingshots anyway? I remember being surprised how you had to nudge so much on A New Hope and South Park Super Sweet Pinball. Still, any advancement in physics is usually good, so it's nice to see that.
    Well, it is my goal to getting closer to the real life pinballs as much as possible with my tables. I play real pinball a lot, so I missed the real deal from my first tables. The overall feedbacks are positive about this, so we kept the settings and will implement them to future tables.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deep View Post
    Well, it is my goal to getting closer to the real life pinballs as much as possible with my tables. I play real pinball a lot, so I missed the real deal from my first tables. The overall feedbacks are positive about this, so we kept the settings and will implement them to future tables.
    I'm certainly enjoying the new tables much more (except for Dead pool that is on another difficulty level on Xbox 360). Being able to play a decent game for half an hour and feeling satisfied of what I have achieved is much more fun than e.g. 24 hours on Paranormal. It is so much more fun to have a few attempts rather than just playing one marathon game. There is more than enough easier tables in the catalogue for new players to get better before attempting the more challenging tables. There are many skills to be learned to become a better player (e.g. shot selection, activating kickbacks etc.) so it is just right that there should be a range of tables as well with regards to difficulty.

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    Junior Member Eternal21's Avatar
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    Sigh. I really hope there are no trophies associated with the new Star Wars table. Those slingshots seem to be just as bad (watch around 2 minute mark):


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    That ball could have easily been saved with an upward nudge. It was sitting right on top of the post before it slowly rolled into the outlane. Also on the Wild West video, the first drain could have been avoided if you had made a bounce pass or raised the flipper earlier to trap the ball. The second drain was caused a missed shot that was directed towards the slingshots. It most likely could have been saved with a nudge as well as it was bouncing around on the inlane and outlane posts.

    My point is I don't think the slingshots are unfair. You usually only hit the slingshots if you have made a mistake. And even if the ball is directed toward the outlanes by the slingshots (which is what they are intended to do), you still have a good chance of saving the ball with a well timed nudge. I like the more realistic slingshots. And like Cloda said, being able to play a challenging 30 minute game is much more satisfying than playing marathon games like paranormal which go on forever.
    Last edited by surf1der; 04-06-2015 at 03:28 PM.

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    Senior Member Mammouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eternal21 View Post
    As it is, I just earn the trophy in those cases, and move on thanking god I never have to touch the table again.
    That's exectly what i have done with Walking Dead, Wild West, New Hope and Butter's.
    On Deadpool, it's for another reason i will never touch this table again : i play with the 6th view and with this view, the end of the ramps which goes on the inlanes hides the A and D letter. So, when you are in the flow of the game, you can't see if the letter is turn on or off. It breaks the game, you can't purposely change the letter to spell WADE and gain the kickback. You just spam the button and hope you light the letter. Yes, i know that i can change the view... but i play with the 6th view ! Why must i have to change it for one table ?

    Quote Originally Posted by surf1der View Post
    That ball could have easily been saved with an upward nudge.
    Yes, nudge and nudge and nudge and... TILT ! And sometimes, the nudge is not enough and the ball slides on the outlane, laughing on your face, saying that your record attempt has failed because that's how it works now, you unlucky bast****.

    I don't understand how you can justify something completly unfair which is based on pure (bad)luck and just saying "you just suck at nudging". WTF ? I don't want to have to make brutally violence on the flipper every time ! Poor table, it must have seen things that can't be unseen...
    "You don"t hit the slingshot if you don't make mistake" you say. It's wrong : kickbacks usually launch the ball on the slingshot, like a lot of table ! And, thinking about them a little, the slingshots are in the middle of the table, how can you be able to avoid them permanently ?? On Walking Dead, if you take the "FORTIFY" orbit, you MUST raise your flip to avoid a plane and when you raise it, the ball goes on the slingshot after !
    So what ? Is it now forbidden to raise your flip to catch a ball after shooting an orbit because the ball will go on the slingshot => outlane ? Forbidden to not brutally slap the table to avoid the outlanes ?

    Just because of the realistic physic. The same physic that purposely do that in order to force you to put all your money on it.
    In Zen Pinball, we don't pay for each launch on the same table, so they don't need to simulate the unfair things, there is no more money to gain with these.
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    @Mammouth, I get it. You and many of the French guys don't like the more active slingshots. You like to twist our words when we use the word "realistic" to mean "unfair" when we actually mean more difficult. If there is no randomness in tables they become boring marathon games that last hours and hours. You might like marathon games but I think they are dull and predictable. And just because we want some more "realism" to increase the difficulty doesn't mean we necessarily want complete "realism" like your examples in your other post of house balls and steep ramps or weak flippers (which are usually caused by a worn out solenoid from a machine that hasn't been well-maintained). By the way, many of the more modern machines have short ball saves to prevent house balls.

    And yes, if you nudge three times quickly you will tilt. However, unlike real machines, Zen tables have tilt warnings that reset. I'm not sure if you are saying you want unlimited nudging to make the game even easier? I was merely pointing out that a well-timed nudge would have likely saved the ball in most of those cases. If you don't want to tilt just trap the ball for 10-15 seconds to let the tilt warnings reset.

    Another example of where I would like to see more "realism" in regards to increased difficulty which you would probably consider "unfair" is pop bumpers. Most real tables you want to avoid the pop bumpers because they are dangerous and lead to drains. I would like to see this more on Zen tables. As it stands now, pop bumpers on Zen tables are usually in nice enclosed regions that never lead to drains. I equate the randomness that pop bumpers and slingshots provide with increased difficulty and a more exciting game, not unfairness.

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    I also have an issue with the super reactive slingshots. Seems that every time the ball hits them, it flies off like it was shot out of a cannon !

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    Senior Member Mammouth's Avatar
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    @surf1der Not all of the members of the LUP's Club are against the strong slingshots. A poll has been made and it's 55%/45% against the slingshots. The majority isn't large.

    A boring marathon game happened when the flow of the table is not good or missions are too similar, when the way to break a record is to spam something and forget 80% of the rest of the table.
    For the first exemple, i will say that Paranormal is the best example. So boring that i just want to lose my balls to end the game.
    For the second exemple, V12 with spamming ramps, Civil War with the right hole spam, A New Hope and Dark Vador with the spam multiball, Super Football League where you just need to make combos to remove the defenders and score the goal after.

    But marathon games can be fun : X-Men needs you to complete all missions in order to gain extra-ball and the flow is non stop, the diversity of the missions in Infinity Gauntlet is very good and you can make a marathon without being bored. Others tables where a marathon is fun are Guardians of the Galaxy, South Park Super Sweety, Fantastic Four, Star Fighter Assault, Blade (very punishing table), Han Solo. I think CastleStorm can be a good marathon game too.
    When i score the 4 billions on Infinity Gauntlet to won the tournament in 2012, my game was "only" 5 hours long. Is that a marathon ? When i play Europa Universalis 4 or Civilization, i can be the whole day on the game. And if someone doesn't like marathon game, there is a save session now. He can stop and resume later. (But i try to not use this option, because when i resume, i always lose my game 20 minutes after).
    Yes, i confess, i love making a marathon on X-Men because the flow of the table is perfect and it's very rewarding.

    With a too random table like Wild West Rampage, the best way to make a good score is to launch the multiball again and again because it's the only safe way to lose "balls" without loosing your ball (if you know what i mean).
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    Sign me up for hating the death spitters.

    I'm an amateur. I like learning the games, and I totally consider nudging cheating. In my day, people were thrown out of the arcade for hitting the tables.

    I didn't even know that you could nudge up until I read it here.

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    Table Designer deep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trynyty View Post
    Sign me up for hating the death spitters.

    I'm an amateur. I like learning the games, and I totally consider nudging cheating. In my day, people were thrown out of the arcade for hitting the tables.

    I didn't even know that you could nudge up until I read it here.
    The same was the case in my childhood in arcades but I can tell you it is recommended and totally normal to use nudging even on IRL tables. Even a slight nudge can save the ball. Why would be nudging cheating? Here is a video about the basics of nudging, but you can find tons of others.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R-G0ZHaKWY

    The manufacturers invented the TILT mechanism against the overuse of nudging which is there in our game too, so you can't just nudge all the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deep View Post
    The same was the case in my childhood in arcades but I can tell you it is recommended and totally normal to use nudging even on IRL tables. Even a slight nudge can save the ball. Why would be nudging cheating? Here is a video about the basics of nudging, but you can find tons of others.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R-G0ZHaKWY

    The manufacturers invented the TILT mechanism against the overuse of nudging which is there in our game too, so you can't just nudge all the time.
    Ugh, I have 42 years of "not hitting the machine" to fight against now.

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    I'm actually surprised that anyone would want less active slings.
    Having them react this way (sometimes insanely) makes them much more like the real thing. The Zen tables/games are great, but overall they are to easy with overly long ball times. Improving the slings like this helps alleviate that and make them more fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalzoic View Post
    I'm actually surprised that anyone would want less active slings.
    Having them react this way (sometimes insanely) makes them much more like the real thing. The Zen tables/games are great, but overall they are to easy with overly long ball times. Improving the slings like this helps alleviate that and make them more fun.
    But not everyone wants it to be close to the real thing. There are other games already with "real" ball physics and more accurate mechanics. I play Zen because I want to feel like I'm in control of what's happening and that will go away with crazy slingshots and the like.
    Also in return the mission modes on the Zen tables tend to be WAY more difficult than what real tables would throw at you.
    In addition to that I don't see the fun in increasing the amount of ball drains that you can do little to nothing about. That's not making the game harder just more frustrating which isn't a good thing. A just played A New Hope a few days ago trying to complete the wizard mode and even though I had three extra balls I barely reached wizard mode on my last ball because pretty much all my balls drained because of the unpredictable sling shots and the super bouncy ball.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beliskner View Post
    But not everyone wants it to be close to the real thing. There are other games already with "real" ball physics and more accurate mechanics. I play Zen because I want to feel like I'm in control of what's happening and that will go away with crazy slingshots and the like.
    Also in return the mission modes on the Zen tables tend to be WAY morhe difficult than what real tables would throw at you.
    In addition to that I don't see the fun in increasing the amount of ball drains that you can do little to nothing about. That's not making the game harder just more frustrating which isn't a good thing. A just played A New Hope a few days ago trying to complete the wizard mode and even though I had three extra balls I barely reached wizard mode on my last ball because pretty much all my balls drained because of the unpredictable sling shots and the super bouncy ball.

    This is pretty much how I feel about it as well. I understand what some of you guys are saying though, with wanting a bit more challenge. There are some tables that seem too easy. But then again, how many hours do we have on those tables? In this game? Shouldn't we get better after playing this game, some of us for three, four, or even five plus years? Perhaps the new difficulty selection will satisfy the highly skilled.

    But bringing the slingshots to a more "realistic" reaction does bring a bit of unfairness. Because in real life, pinball machines were there to make an Arcade operator money on every game. Of course youre not supposed to have marathon games. How would that be profitable? Real life slingshots are unfair.

    And no, a ball going into the slings is not always the result of a bad shot. Quite often on Zen tables, the shot youre supposed to make, like drop targets or standups, deflect your ball right into them. Mission modes that require multiball...easy loss from slings when balls are flying all over the place. Any momentum loss from an orbit shot can easily put it in the slings. Sure you can play it safe & use nudge. It doesnt always work though, plus you might have to trap a ball to reset the tilt timer, and that indeed does ruin the flow of the high ramp tables. Add that to some really tight mission timers, and now you get a pretty frustrating experience. Its not that i dont like a challenge, obviously i do. But i dont want that uncontrollable and frustrating ball loss from overpowered, realistic slingshots designed to eat my quarters. Not with Zen. Its quite a challenge on the majority of tables to complete a wizard mode as it is.

    Deep, I really like your tables. They are truly awesome tables. But I find myself putting them on the backburner until im ready for punishment sometimes because of those slings. They seem to be getting better, in regards to ejecting a 100 mph fastball to the outlanes. They are your designs, so ill play them as you make them, but if you continue to tune them up so that the Zen experience is enjoyable for everyone, I think everybody can be satisfied.
    Last edited by MarkItZeroSmoky; 04-16-2015 at 09:55 AM.

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    Table Designer deep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkItZeroSmoky View Post
    Deep, I really like your tables. They are truly awesome tables. But I find myself putting them on the backburner until im ready for punishment sometimes because of those slings. They seem to be getting better, in regards to ejecting a 100 mph fastball to the outlanes. They are your designs, so ill play them as you make them, but if you continue to tune them up so that the Zen experience is enjoyable for everyone, I think everybody can be satisfied.
    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.

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    I love when gamers talk about real life experiences. Very few real life experiences can be achieved sitting on your couch. There's a world outside your window. You want real life, get off your butt, go outside and find it. The real life pinball experience is out there too. It's at a bowling alley arcade. Hope you enjoy wasting money on short frustrating games. Tables like A New Hope are tough enough with the punishing timers on every mission including the wizard mode. Now add to that the slings, bouncy everything and dangerous to activate kickbacks.

    I ask the power sling lovers who complain about easy tables and boring marathon games: Are you playing safe and just spamming an easy mode, or are you truly trying to get to the wizard mode. I had a great game of Fantastic Four a while back where I got to the wizard mode around 6 or 7 times. I think I only failed it once out of those tries. There was nothing boring about that. It was control, skill, and still a little luck, both good and bad luck.

    I hate the power slings, obviously. I’ve bought every table since downloading the El Dorado demo 5 years ago. If the demo had been A New Hope, Wild West Rampage, Walking Dead, or Deadpool, I would own zero tables. If you designers insist on Power slings then make the kickbacks easier to activate. I suggest the basic in or outlane rollover activation. Also make the habit rails actually return the ball to above the rollover on an inlane. Not under it on like on Return of the Jedi. That way skilled players who understand the tables have the choice of activating them in order to control their blood pressure.

    Sorry to be so negative and long winded, but some kind of compromise is needed with this issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deep View Post
    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?

    If you are planning on using the same leaderboards for all difficulties I would say no.

    It will be very hard for you to get the risk / reward right.

    Big danger that people will just spam easy mode for high scores. Then we are back to those marathon games that the bouncy slingshots were meant to help prevent (lets see how the new Avengers table works out...).

    How about if you complete the wizard mode or reach a certain score the slingshots get more bouncy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alipan View Post

    How about if you complete the wizard mode or reach a certain score the slingshots get more bouncy?
    Interesting idea - would that be just for that specific game, or would it unlock for future games as well?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BarbieBobomb View Post
    Interesting idea - would that be just for that specific game, or would it unlock for future games as well?
    If this is considered please don't make it so it carries over to the next game as it wouldn't be fair at all. Weaker players might just slightly get above the requirements on a game while veteran players might crush the table on their first play. Every player should be able to start a game with the same conditions as everyone.

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    I hate the power slings, obviously. I’ve bought every table since downloading the El Dorado demo 5 years ago. If the demo had been A New Hope, Wild West Rampage, Walking Dead, or Deadpool, I would own zero tables. If you designers insist on Power slings then make the kickbacks easier to activate. I suggest the basic in or outlane rollover activation. Also make the habit rails actually return the ball to above the rollover on an inlane. Not under it on like on Return of the Jedi. That way skilled players who understand the tables have the choice of activating them in order to control their blood pressure.
    This. +$100.00%. This would fix the issue. I'm about to have my gf start playing with me, and there is no way in hell I will let her touch Wild West or Walking Dead. She would play three minutes then tell me she doesn't like it. I don't own the other two franchise tables.

    I watched the video on nudging, I've tried it. I tilt every time.
    Other times, I can't figure out when the heck to nudge. The ball moves so fast, maybe it's because I'm old and my eyes don't move as well.... who knows. Please do something about those kickers.

    Another solution would be to do what I LOVED about the older tables when I was just a tyke.... MAGNA SAVE!!! Even a little bouncy plate below the flippers.

    When I hunted tables to play as a swaddling infant teenager, I looked for: a)Balls per play b)Magna Save c)Boingy pin at main drain. Not too many had b, a lot had c, and I stopped playing when it got to 3 balls for a dollar. WTH, man. I understand times have changed, and it's 3 plays. But as the above poster stated, real life is outside.

    I would say that the majority of players are NOT pros (based on a poll of 1 person, my results indicate that 100% of players are not pros) and are playing a casual game and/or are being introduced to pinball for the first time. My son had never seen pinball before, and has already been turned off by the difficulty.

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    If we are talking about being able to select difficulty at the beginning of a new game, then you should be able to select increasing difficulty as well. Pro’s can select hard with increasing difficulty. New players can select easy with non-increasing difficulty. Or continue increasing difficulty from where you left off on a previous game. I see increasing difficulty as an option that very few would be interested in. So to force that feature on consumers could be suicide to the seller. You can’t market a product to the minority, take a marketing or economics class people.

    Look this slingshot thing has created a lot of arguing. Some love them; I think most hate them (I hate them so I want to think I’m in the majority, maybe not). Being able to adjust the slings makes some people question the fairness of the scoreboards. The scoreboards have been busted from day one. The easiest table to activate the ball save is Tesla. That was the first trophy I won on the original ZP. First game, within seconds of starting, a trophy pops for hitting the spinner. I didn’t even know what I did. Now I could keep a game going for years by just continuously activating the Tesla ball save. I could run up a great score doing this. It would be boring as hell and take a long time, but I could do it. Other tables have spamable high scoring modes (Darth Vader is one of the biggest culprits). Vader is also one of the hardest to take to wizard mode, IMO. I can spam the easy modes and rack up a big score in a marathon game, or I can lose quick trying to beat some very hard missions. That is why the scoreboards will always be broken.

    So to use the scoreboards as a deal breaker for being able to choose difficulty is ridiculous. I want to turn down the slings on the tables that have the power ones to the level of the majority of the first 52 tables. That way I might enjoy the hard work the designer put in on Deadpool. Otherwise, I hate that table. BTW, I beat Deadpools wizard mode a few days ago and enjoyed doing it. I didn’t enjoy several cheap outlane drains. Thank you power slings.

  26. #26
    Junior Member Eternal21's Avatar
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    I would like for Zen Pinball to remain a challenging game. Nothing feels better than spending weeks on a table, to finally earn that trophy. But the slingshots shooting the ball into outlanes don't feel fair. There's very little you can do at that point to save the situation. Sure you can nudge, but half the time the ball is traveling way too fast to know which way to nudge, and even if it stops momentarily teetering over the edge, it's still a crap shot at best. The table should be challenging, because of precise/timed shots that require skill, and not just being lucky at avoiding hitting slingshots at all cost.

    I wish there was a checkbox option which would let you enable 'legacy' slingshots on the future tables (adding this option to already existing tables would be unfair to people that already earned the trophies on tables like Deadpool and The Walking Dead). I wouldn't even mind leaderboard high-scores being disabled for those games, as long as the trophies could still be earned.

    And I agree with davethehutt. If you're playing marathon games, then perhaps the problem is you are focusing on a few shots that earn you the points, while dismissing the rest of the table. Take the table to the wizard mode, complete all side-missions and optional shots, your chances of draining are going to go up, and the game is going to be much more fun. And if you are really after the high-score only, then perhaps the problem is not with the slingshots not being random enough, but with your goals (leaderboards can be easily exploited; at least on PS4 version).

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    Quote Originally Posted by BarbieBobomb View Post
    Interesting idea - would that be just for that specific game, or would it unlock for future games as well?
    Actually now I think about it some more it's a bad idea. People would just avoid completing the table.

    Assuming the purpose of harsher slingshots is to reduce game time what's actually needed is better table design. Ie limit kick backs, no game modes you can spam and increasing difficulty the further you get (surely one of the cornerstones of gaming from early arcade games to the present day?).

  28. #28

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    Until the power slings started, I never once heard anyone complain about this games difficulty. The porridge was always just right and Goldilocks enjoyed a nice meal. Now all of a sudden she can’t eat it because it’s either too hot or too cold. Fair and difficult are 2 different things. None of the bears poisoned the porridge. Stop poisoning my porridge with unfair slings.

    Now look what you did, I’ve gone all fairy tale.

  29. #29
    Senior Member DiscoKing's Avatar
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    @ Daver: I like the fairy tale analogy

    Thought I might as well chime in too for what it's worth.

    Point 1: people want to eliminate "marathon games" by increasing the difficulty of the active slings.

    Point 2: I don't like them they are unfair and random . The game is more about luck and less about skill.

    My thought is I agree with point two (just so that you know my bias up front)

    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????
    Last edited by DiscoKing; 04-17-2015 at 12:26 AM.

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    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????
    +1 this idea. And fix the current offender tables while you're at it. There are no tournaments that I'm aware of, so points right now are just internet points. Fix it. FIX EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!
    Last edited by Trynyty; 04-17-2015 at 09:33 PM.

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    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.

  32. #32
    Senior Member shogun00's Avatar
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    Quote 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.

  33. #33
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    Quote 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 at 08:05 AM.

  34. #34
    Table Designer deep's Avatar
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    Quote 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.

  35. #35
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    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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    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.

  37. #37
    Junior Member Eternal21's Avatar
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    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.

  38. #38
    Senior Member skyway73's Avatar
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    Quote 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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    Quote 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!!!

  40. #40
    Senior Member shogun00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trynyty View Post
    Where? WHERE!?!?!? ZOMG I MUST KNOW!!!
    Under the control settings.

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    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.

  42. #42
    Senior Member Mammouth's Avatar
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    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).
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    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.

  44. #44
    Senior Member Mammouth's Avatar
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    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.
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  45. #45
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    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.
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  46. #46
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    Wow, this really is a hot topic! Nice to see some passionate responses, even if I disagree with most of them

    I'll try and keep my views short... Firstly, I love the strong slings. real pins have them and I feel they add to the nerve-jangling excitement. And yes, I know the Zen tables are just a video game not even a simulation but I think they have enough other features which would never be possible on a real machine. We all want it to at least feel like pinball don't we?

    With this in mind I think an increasing difficulty after completing Wizard modes dosn't feel right to me. Sure, make modes harder to start with shortened timers etc. but don't adjust the physical features of the table.

    My answer would be this: keep the powerful slings but to avoid frustrating outlane drains how about narrowing the gap there? Make it obviously still possible to drain but give us players a chance to nudge and save a ball bouncing round there. I think Return of the Jedi had the closest idea to this, I loved the ball bouncing round there and giving a quick shake or nudge to 'persuade' the ball out. To be clear, I'm talking about before the ball actually travels down the outlane and is rattling round behind the slings.

    Oh, and I HATE marathon tables. I want a test of reflexes and split second strategical decision making, not a dull endurance test of stamina. I loved Paranormal but cannot face playing it for obvious reasons, sadly.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyway73 View Post
    Wow, this really is a hot topic! Nice to see some passionate responses, even if I disagree with most of them

    I'll try and keep my views short... Firstly, I love the strong slings. real pins have them and I feel they add to the nerve-jangling excitement. And yes, I know the Zen tables are just a video game not even a simulation but I think they have enough other features which would never be possible on a real machine. We all want it to at least feel like pinball don't we?

    With this in mind I think an increasing difficulty after completing Wizard modes dosn't feel right to me. Sure, make modes harder to start with shortened timers etc. but don't adjust the physical features of the table.

    My answer would be this: keep the powerful slings but to avoid frustrating outlane drains how about narrowing the gap there? Make it obviously still possible to drain but give us players a chance to nudge and save a ball bouncing round there. I think Return of the Jedi had the closest idea to this, I loved the ball bouncing round there and giving a quick shake or nudge to 'persuade' the ball out. To be clear, I'm talking about before the ball actually travels down the outlane and is rattling round behind the slings.

    Oh, and I HATE marathon tables. I want a test of reflexes and split second strategical decision making, not a dull endurance test of stamina. I loved Paranormal but cannot face playing it for obvious reasons, sadly.
    Pretty much exactly my thoughts. I love the better slings, I wish they could go back and up the sling power on all the older tables. I would actually buy that as DLC. I'm not interested in having the outlanes become easier, but I like that idea much more than split difficulty levels. Don't like the idea of that at all. As for marathon games I'd say the longer the average play time a table has the less interesting or fun it is to play.

    When they feel watered down they lose some character that makes pinball so great. I want awesome highs and lows, victories, saves and horrible defeats... rather than playing it safe so it isn't to difficult. That just makes it dull in my opinion.

  48. #48
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    Oh the irony...

    Now you need the active slings to be your friend and send your ball down the outlanes for the new avengers ultron trophy

    Zen developers : "what?! You don't like the more active slings!? Well, now you're going to pray for them to get this new trophy! Now how much do you want active slings"

    Players: "Man, I can't get the slings to send my ball down the outlanes!"

  49. #49
    Junior Member Eternal21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoKing View Post
    Oh the irony...

    Now you need the active slings to be your friend and send your ball down the outlanes for the new avengers ultron trophy

    Zen developers : "what?! You don't like the more active slings!? Well, now you're going to pray for them to get this new trophy! Now how much do you want active slings"

    Players: "Man, I can't get the slings to send my ball down the outlanes!"
    Tell me about it. I could earn that trophy EVERY game on Deadpool, without even trying. One of out three times when the ball goes down the right outlane, it gets spit out, bounces around the slingshots and goes directly into the left one.

    4dQkPbi.jpg

  50. #50
    Senior Member Rafie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoKing View Post
    Oh the irony...

    Now you need the active slings to be your friend and send your ball down the outlanes for the new avengers ultron trophy

    Zen developers : "what?! You don't like the more active slings!? Well, now you're going to pray for them to get this new trophy! Now how much do you want active slings"

    Players: "Man, I can't get the slings to send my ball down the outlanes!"
    Disco, normally I'm right behind you in earning my trophies early for Zen. Now I'm lagging behind. I love the video you did on Shareplay. I wish I could do that on command. Unfortunately it will be by luck. Hehehe Oh and MKX has really been grabbing my attention lately.
    PSN ID- RayCrocheron82
    Gamertag- RAFIE82
    YouTube- Rafie Crocheron
    Nintendo ID- Rafie82

    Tables Wishlist- Hanna-Barbera 4 pack, Holiday table, DC tables, or any Zen table...even if it's My Little Pony

  51. #51
    Senior Member skyway73's Avatar
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    Start a multiball and go for end of flipper shots, I got the trophy within 5 mins of my 1st go by doing this.

  52. #52
    Senior Member DiscoKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rafie View Post
    Disco, normally I'm right behind you in earning my trophies early for Zen. Now I'm lagging behind. I love the video you did on Shareplay. I wish I could do that on command. Unfortunately it will be by luck. Hehehe Oh and MKX has really been grabbing my attention lately.
    I'm getting mkx. Maybe we can get a few fights in when I get it.

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