Incentivize survival in the BR mode


  • Founders

    This came about after a discussion in the Discord regarding the problem of hot-dropping. It's pretty lengthy so there is a tl;dr at the bottom for the non-commited.
    If you can spare the time, please give it a read and let me know your thoughts.

    Battle Royale is a survival based mode. Put yourself in your avatar's shoes: Your life is on the line, death is the ultimate failure and should be avoided at all costs. Feared, even.

    If you're throwing your life away, you're playing the game mode wrong.

    It has become apparent from other BR games that this element is missing by the emergence of 'hot dropping', players jumping into a game with no intention of surviving looking for a few brief minutes of action. The consequence of this mentality is that about 50% of the players are dead 5 minutes into the game and the mid-game is extremely dull and uneventful as the map is underpopulated.

    Personally I see two main things that encourage this problem:

    • Loot is completely random (I'm going to ignore this point as I think Mavericks plans for semi-RNG loot may already address this).
    • Players have minimal incentive to survive as long as possible, or even win.

    In PUBG you get a couple of BP which don't do anything useful, that's it. Live 5 minutes, live 20 minutes, it's all the same reward wise, you get a couple useless tokens. Most people choose 5 minutes of intense action over 20 minutes of 'meh', the outcome is the same - Que for the next game.
    It's completely not in the spirit of the game mode, but it is understandable. No-one wants to wander around for 20 minutes then die without firing a shot. The really annoying thing is that the mid-game is so dead because so many people are hot dropping and not spreading out around the map. It's a self-perpetuating problem.

    So what's the solution?

    People need to want to survive, they need incentive. It needs to be beneficial, profitable even for them to put the time into playing the game properly:

    • The winner should be heavily rewarded for their success.
    • Players that place highly should be rewarded fairly well.
    • Players that do OK should be rewarded somewhat.
    • And players that are among the first to die, early on in the game... they should be penalised (bear with me, I'm not talking anything horrendously negative or that would impact play-ability/enjoyment etc).

    If we want to capture the true essence of a survival situation then on some level, the player has to find death distasteful. They need to want to do well.
    But the penalty can't be too drastic, you don't want people to rage-quit from an early death and stop playing etc.

    Now we don't know what might be on the table regarding rewards but for the sake of an example let's assume you get XP which lets you level up, unlocking cosmetics/titles/customisation/things in the MMO etc:

    • XP is earned for downs, kills, damage, assists, revives, objectives, final position and survival time.
    • The XP rewarded for increased survival time increases non-linearly. For example, lasting 20 minutes rewards more XP than 4 individual 5 minute sessions.
    • Similar to survival time, final position XP is non-linear. XP rewarded for 1st place is doubled.

    If everyone is playing properly and the first to die happens to die 10 minutes in, they would still be rewarded far better than if they died in the first 15 seconds etc, making it worth their time to play play properly even if they are still 'learning the ropes'.

    In addition to the above, the XP rewarded is affected by a modifier that is determined by your performance:

    • Last place (first to die) grants an XP modifier of 50%.
    • Winning (last man standing) grants a modifier of 200%.
    • The rest of the positions get modifiers increasing non-linearly towards first place. The higher you position, the increasingly better your modifier.
    • Dying in the first x minutes (5?) reduces the modifier by 5%.
    • Dying after y minutes (5/10/15?) increases the modifier by 5-10% (capped at 200%).

    Poor performance doesn't hold you back, stop you from advancing or affect your ability to perform, it simply slows your progression. Good performance is rewarded with faster progression etc.
    As the game is a BR and everyone enters on a level playing field, this can't impact your game-play in future games. It shouldn't induce ragequits etc if you do happen to die early etc as you haven't lost anything vital to playing the game-mode.

    I believe this system would do the following things:

    • Discourage people from hot-dropping.
    • Incentivize players to play the game mode properly as you have the potential to earn vastly more XP by surviving longer, and scoring higher.
    • Keep map populations high into the mid-game ensuring more frequent conflicts and preventing the mid-game from being 'dead'. This should create a positive feedback loop and further prevent hot-dropping.
    • Reward both survival and skilled play, as the XP rewarded for both aspects of performance re-enforce each other for greater rewards. 5 Kills and placing 160th rewards you far less than 5 kills and placing 10th for example.

    Bear in mind this is just a conceptual example, we have no idea what the rewards for the BR mode may be. They could be XP related, they could be currency/MMO loot. The reward quality modification concept can be applied to most outcomes however, be it a chunk of XP, currency or a spin on a loot table etc.

    Balancing could be an issue, if the rewards for performing well are too drastic it could result in everyone crawling around in the grass scared to draw attention to themselves.... But that's what tracking features, destructible/combustible environment and molotovs are for 😁

    tl;dr
    Hot dropping is bad for a BR game, it's against the spirit of the game mode and causes the mid-game to be quiet and boring due to underpopulated maps. Incentivize players to play well and survive for as long as possible by giving increasing rewards for placing higher and surviving longer. Reduce the rewards for extremely poor performance (low positioning and survival times). Have rewards that are actually worth getting, unlike the useless BP in PUBG etc.

    Apologies for the essay, I like to try and describe the background/reasoning when I suggest things.

    Comments/feedback/suggestions/alterations/criticisms are all welcome.


  • Founders

    I'm not currently committed to the post as you say, lol. Honestly, I just want to get this thought out before I space it.

    I have one major argument about incentivizing survival over kills...and that's bots. People farming bits (depending on how they're managed) may just pull a PUBG. The bot would only really have to move around a little while in order to earn up the free currency. That's not to say that Mavericks' cheat detection system won't pick up eventually, but it's something to keep in mind.

    Okay, now I'm going to read the rest of the post. 😛

    Edit:
    Alrighty, read the rest.

    One thing occurred to me as I got to the end...a ranking system can be influential enough to cause many players to try their hardest. Not exactly sure if there will be one or not, but it's never a terrible idea (so long as there is an alternative, unranked "fun" mode).

    With that being said, I like the non-linear exp/loot/currency modifier idea with a few issues. The bot thing still comes to mind and can be troublesome for the economy if not kept in check. Aside from that, I'd like to see situational modifiers...for instance, making it to the "top 10" without killing anyone for those actual pacifist players, and maybe allow activity to compound survival rank (think 1% additional modifier per kill multiplied by rank - 1.15 for 15 kills times 2.00 for a win for 230% additional reward instead of 215% for additive). Things like that.

    Even given these different systems, you can't always predict what people will do...and god forbid you end up in a game with someone like Shroud who takes out 1/4th the playerbase alone (stream snipers) in the first 5 minutes.

    Something else to take into consideration is any event thrown. Events can be weighted outrageously different from the norm in order to highly encourage strong survival tactics. Double/Triple/Quadruple exp weekends come to mind. Could also have cosmetics that will only unlock based on points for ranking high.

    I'm really just spitballing here, but these ideas are what came to mind.


  • Founders

    Some good suggestions.

    I would agree with not having kills awarded too highly or being too much of an incentive. As you've said, too many people are not embracing the BR aspect of the gameplay and are just looking for their next frag-fest.

    I'll take these wins over hot dropping and only lasting 5 mins max all day long...

    Winner Winner

    As I posted in the tweet that went with that image - "It's the only kill that counts".

    🙂


  • Founders

    In PUBG Mobile, you can actually unlock a title by winning a game without killing anyone. lol


  • Founders

    @pvpavement-0001

    Agreed, bots definitely are a concern. One method to completely eliminate the presence of bots is to have the rewards earned be completely useless as a revenue stream, there are plenty of rewards systems that don't have to give monetary value. If the rewards are purely XP/progression based then there isn't much of a market for crate bots etc. It's entirely possible the rewards could have value in the player markets however.

    My hope with having multiple performance metrics measured, and those metrics re-enforcing the rewards from each other would make simply surviving into the mid-game (top 50%) alone nowhere near as profitable as someone who is actually playing. There's a multitude of metrics you could potentially include in the mix, from distance travelled and items picked up to damage dealt/healed etc. Some are easy for bots to do, others could be far more challenging to convincingly emulate. But a person actively playing (be it aggressively or passively) should tick enough boxes that they get their deserved rewards. I agree kills alone shouldn't be the main scoring metric.

    If you're displaying very 'bot like' behaviours (say, constantly running directly at the next zone, not looking at potential enemy locations or checking for enemies/looting/reacting when shot at etc,) the anti-cheat could flag you as suspicious and repeated occurrences would result in hefty reward nerfs/forfeit.

    I like the idea of in-game challenges adding to your rewards (sort of what I was getting at with some of my modifiers). There's the potential there for a multitude of bonuses to add to your reward 'multiplier', and they can even incentiveize players to improve their aiming/tactics etc:

    Bonuses:

    • Headshot kills (rewards accuracy)
    • Normal kills (rewards winning a fight)
    • Kills with special weapons/challenge items, 'get a kill with a melee weapon' or 'kill an enemy by shooting an explosive barrel' for example (fun little challenges that might put you at greater risk attempting to achieve but reward you for doing them, the melee one especially would incentivize players to 'punish' afks/bots by inflicting them with the associated awareness penalty in order to get an easy bonus)
    • Team revives (rewards teamwork)
    • Items used (consumables/stims/traps/etc) (rewards activity)
    • 'Hits'/damage on enemies (rewards accuracy)
    • Shot that land 'close' to enemies (<5m?) (rewards activity/suppressing fire (teamwork) etc)
    • Health healed (rewards survival)
    • Time undetected in close proximity to an enemy (rewards stealth/passive play)
    • Distance travelled (rewards activity/exploration)
    • Completion of mini-objectives/distractions (rewards activity/exploration)

    Penalties:

    • Team downs (punishes carelessness/griefing, is nullified by team revive bonus if an accident)
    • Big penalty if a team-downed teammate dies/is killed (punishes carelessness/griefing)
    • Shots that land nowhere near an enemy (>10/20/30/50m?) (punishes inaccuracy/misfires/bots trying to appear active etc)
    • Suicide (punishes carelessness)
    • Death to a special weapon/challenge item. Dying to a melee weapon or from an enemy exploding an environmental object for example (punishes poor spatial awareness, encourages the player to be more aware of their surroundings etc. Would also punish afks/bots as players would always chose to melee an afk/bot for that easy bonus)

    Things would have to carry different amounts of bonus/penalty based on the likelihood/extent of their occurrence etc, and ones that could be afk/botted would need to either have less of an impact or cap out at a certain level.

    Certain hard-to-achieve challenges (think collateral damage (double headshot) from COD) could even unlock unique rewards/cosmetics, but then you get into achievement whoring territory so I personally would rather avoid that cesspit...

    @Gargoyle-0001

    I couldn't agree more 👍
    The goal is to win by any means necessary. As long as you are getting results, you should be rewarded for your efforts! If you're not getting results... you shouldn't be getting as good rewards!


  • Founders

    @nebbo-0001 Yeah, those are some nifty suggestions. It definitely encourages a variety of different play styles to pop up. I can just picture myself in a game that I play stealthily. Sneaking up on enemies and knife (sword/axe/grenade?) them to death. Hell, if there's a possibility to place something like C4 on the back of an enemy that didn't detect you and then crawling off to blow them up from a distance...that would just be so much fun. lol