View Full Version : [SUGGESTION][CHALLENGERS] Stop incentivising poor performance!

09-13-2018, 06:46 PM
Hi guys,

I'm about 2 hours into the Trials Rising closed beta and so far it's been a very polished experience, I've had no bugs or glitches and it's everything I expect from the Trials franchise. I really have nothing to fault with the core gameplay and content, it plays extremely well and even the online aspects seem remarkably stable considering that this is their first major test.

However, despite the perfect gameplay I'm having a real problem with one specific mechanic in the game and to be honest it's really impacting my enjoyment. It probably shouldn't but yet here I am writing a forum post about it instead of actually playing the game. Anyway, I'm talking about the "Challenger" mechanic that pops up about an hour in. This mechanic picks a track that you've completed and challenges you to beat the ghosts of other riders (which I presume are real players from the community). If you beat the time of three different riders in no more than three attempts you're rewarded with a premium lootbox.

When this mechanic first appeared I immediately noticed that the ghost riders it challenged me against had very similiar times to my own personal best (all just slightly slower than me). This makes sense since it has to set the difficulty based on my own abilities, so really it was just challenging me to beat my personal best. It just so happens that I set a really good time on that particular track, I picked the Mantis on my first run despite the recommendation and smashed the baseline goal as well as the other ghost riders. I didn't manage to top it on the Challenger run so I failed but oh well, you can't win them all.

I have no problem with random challenges based on other riders from the community or my own personal best; Trials has always been about squeezing the best possible time out of a track and the challenger mechanic could be a nice little feature that encouraged players to do that. But the problem here is that it rewards you with premium lootboxes and that immediately provides a very mixed motivation for actually doing well. After seeing the Challenger mechanic in play I decided to put it to the test and cruise my way to an easy lootbox. I deliberately posted terrible times on the next couple of tracks, idling at the finish line and rolling over it just in time to beat the baseline objective. Shortly after, one of those tracks got selected for a challenge and sure enough all the challenger times were right down there with my deliberately awful personal best. So of course I absolutely stomped on them and earned a shiny lootbox. And I guess that's good?

Obviously no, that's not good at all. To sum it up, the game actively incentivises poor performance by rewarding players for posting sub-optimal times. It's not encouraging me to play better, it's doing the exact opposite - I now know that if I just slow down, do a little bit worse, then it will be all the easier to score a lootbox when the challenge pops up. I should probably point out that I don't really have an interest in the cosmetics and in many respects I'm playing devil's advocate here. You can argue that it's the player's fault if they choose to do poorly in order to gain additional rewards and there's certainly some truth to that, but overall I feel that the way this has been implemented is going to act in opposition of its apparent intention. You're basically rewarding people for underperforming, for slowing down and taking it easy on every single track in the game. Are people going to be encouraged to replay tracks for a better time when they know that they can wait a bit longer with their current mediocre time and then earn rewards for beating it? Why do your best on a track when that just makes it harder to earn those rewards when the lootbox fairy visits?

I concede that I may be missing the finer details of how the mechanic works but this much is clear: I got some pretty nice shinies as a direct result of playing those tracks as badly as I could. And to be honest, I don't like that. The best rewards the game has given me so far have been from my worst efforts, it's just plain backwards and I really think you should reassess the basis on which players are rewarded. It's absolutely fine to offer rewards in the form of premium lootboxes, it's a strong incentive for some, but right now you're incentivising the wrong behaviour. I want to be rewarded for my ability to perform rather than my ability to tactically underperform.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, any feedback is both welcome and appreciated.

Cheers, good gaming!

09-13-2018, 07:18 PM
I had a similar experience. My first challenger race was easy enough and I beat all 3 by just playing consistently, then the second one I tried the first challenger was only 2 seconds slower than my pb and I had no chance of hitting a run that good again in only 3 tries. I'd say it's not so big a deal depending on how often they pop up. I like the idea of a mode with limited retries as a way to emphasize consistency, but it doesn't make much sense if you have only 3 tries but you're playing a ghost of someone's pb that they had unlimited time to achieve.

09-13-2018, 08:20 PM
Challenges just make me feel I really should not have tried to play well when doing the tracks for the first time.

09-13-2018, 08:36 PM
You make an very good point that poor performance being incentivised. I feel penalized for doing my best on my firt run. I set really good personal times and cannot beat the final competitor on most of the challenges, with only 3 attempts to do so. I can rarely beat my personal best times without many many attempts, and even the I can only go so fast.

09-14-2018, 03:36 PM
Hi guys, thanks for the replies, glad I'm not the only one who feels this way! I've been playing some more and unfortunately I can only really confirm what I was saying above. If you play very well on your first run of a track, or simply replay it a few times to set a decent score, then good luck with the Challenger run since you're very unlikely to beat it in the three-try limit. However, if you just coast through each track without bothering to set a decent time then when the Challenger run comes it's pretty much a guaranteed win (and a free lootbox).

Something I've noticed is that the game throws a lot of these challenges your way. There's always a challenge available somewhere on the world map so at least the game gives you lots of opportunities to try and it reduces the sting of failing a challenge (since you know it will give you another chance after a while). But I still really dislike the fact that the game seems to reward you better for doing badly. You'll have a much faster earn-rate if you put minimum effort into each track and maintain a poor personal best so you can easily win the challenges. That's just wrong.

If the developers read this then my message is simple: Trials is all about setting the best possible time so please don't make me feel bad for previously setting a good time. Please don't make me regret replaying a track 20 times over to shave 0.5s off my personal best. I really like the concept of rewarding players for their effort but the current implementation isn't doing that, it's literally having the opposite effect.

Cheers guys, good gaming!

09-14-2018, 03:42 PM
I've forwarded the feedback I've seen on this to the team. Thank you so much for sharing.

09-14-2018, 05:48 PM
Thanks very much Keeba, I really appreciate it!

09-14-2018, 06:55 PM
Not a problem!

09-15-2018, 02:04 AM
I agree that Challenger reward system is very flawed, but I also want to say that I really appreciate that the devs are trying to make a system that benefits the least experienced players just as much as the most experienced. The tournaments in Fusion were a good addition, but competition based rewards will always stuff the pockets of the best players while everyone else fights for scraps. The problem is that a system based on individual improvement will always be exploitable in some way. You could have the game track the win-rate and automatically move the ghost times further below the player's PBs if they're losing too much, but that wouldn't work properly until the player has finished a large number of challengers. You could add an element of randomness to the difficulty so that sometimes you get easy ones and sometimes you get tough ones. In any case, I'm hoping you guys can figure out a good soution.

09-15-2018, 09:38 AM
Just popping in to wholeheartedly agree. *stoic nod*

09-17-2018, 12:00 PM
I'd just like to give a quick nod to what Matthew514 has said above, it's a good point that's worth repeating. I also appreciate that the reward system is pretty consistent across players of all skill levels and I agree that this aspect should be retained as much as possible.

Cheers, good gaming!

09-17-2018, 12:21 PM
you can pass the challenges by pressing Y (on XB1) .... I have not realized any challenges ...

I may have misunderstood the meaning of your message .... in this case thank you for forgiving me

09-18-2018, 01:45 PM
I wondered if that system was gameable in this way... sounds like yes.