What is the measure of how well you did on a map?

StatboyStatboy Member
edited February 10 in General Discussion
What is the measure of how well you did on map?

Myself and Gorkster (who is much better at OMD than I am) have been disagreeing on how the leaderboards should be calculated. It seems logical that the answer to how scoring should be handled is by answering this question. I'd be interested to hear other's thoughts on this. I've noticed that my highest scores are never my best run's. Several things conspire to make this happen, if I can't get to an unstable rift to close it, I actually get more points because I then have to handle the minions that spawn. Even though I failed in destroying the unstable rift. Secondly, the better I do with my hero, the less my killbox has to do resulting in lower combo's and a much lower score. Even though I played better and wasn't forced to rely on my killbox as much.

My View: The primary win/loss measure is Rift Points, so that seems logically like the most important thing. I think that if you lost 1 Rift Point you did worse than anybody who lost none. Because maintaining Rift Points is the first goal of the game, and the only way to lose.

Secondly is time. In endless you "win" by running out the clock. In regular matches the minions spawn over time with the next wave starting once the previous is finished. So the better we do the shorter the game is in regular, and the longer the game is in endless.

Thirdly is destroying unstable rifts, simply point you didn't do better if you failed to take the unstable rift down in time. The points for destroying an unstable rift should always be greater than the possible points you get for killing the minions that spawn from it.


Conclusion: My worst runs are my highest scores, the leaderboards are not a reflection of how well you did. Right now the leaderboards are dominated based on a single factor, maximizing combo's. This has lead to a singular play style that promotes doing things are supposed to be negatives. Such as letting unstable rifts form, and not killing minions outright. There is much more variety in finding efficient killbox's than in maximizing combo's, and focusing on maintaining rift points and time would lead to more variation among strats. Somebody has brought up having more control over your difficulty. If we could get bonus score for either nerfing ourselves or buffing the enemies to create a better challenge that would be optimal.
Post edited by Statboy on

Comments

  • SeanPoeSeanPoe Member, Early Access
    Maybe if the normal maps were actually difficult to the point that there was ever an actual risk of losing a rift point, then i'd agree with you.  But it's not.  Killing orcs quickly and keeping all rift points is incredibly easy and more importantly takes essentially no strategy whatsoever.  Simply build your highest DPS traps as close to the spawns as possible, and that's it.  That's the entire strategy.  Then you would just need to mindlessly practice the map over and over while shaving milliseconds off each clear time until you had the best score you could get.  Eventually everyone would have the exact same scores (or within .0001% of each other).  I feel like people that want this type of speed-based scoring system should be playing a game where racing/speed is the entire point of the game (e.g., Project Cars, Mario64 speedruns).  But OMDU is supposed to be a strategy game first, action second.  That means you should expect more depth to the game than just mindlessly clearing maps as quickly as possible.  The combo system solves that problem because it has enormous complexity where each trap can be thought of as a puzzle piece.  You can setup the traps in 100s of different possible combinations to maximize combos whereas speed clear builds would all use the same 7 traps (the highest DPS ones that fit near the spawns).

    And to cover some of your specific points:

    Several things conspire to make this happen, if I can't get to an unstable rift to close it, I actually get more points because I then have to handle the minions that spawn.

    Common misconception.  You would only potentially get more points from this if they were going to spawn near your combo-centric killbox, move through it, and not add significant time to your wave clear time.  Say 10 enemies spawn from that rift, you kill them all with an average of 3 combos with only your hero, that's only around 4k points from those kills.  But guess what?  Every additional second a wave takes you LOSE ~1k score from the post-wave timer bonus.  Which means you actually lost points for letting that rift open if it added 4 or more seconds to your wave clear time.  Or lets say you let the rift open, the mobs go through your killbox and you get an average of 8 combos per kill, that's only ~28k points.  That means if the rift opening time, their pathing time, and time in your killbox is greater than ~28 seconds you lost score.  My point is: letting every single rift open is not a score increase.  Most of the time it will actually reduce your score.

    Secondly, the better I do with my hero, the less my killbox has to do resulting in lower combo's and a much lower score. Even though I played better and wasn't forced to rely on my killbox as much.

    If the goal of the score system is to maximize combos, and you didn't do that, did you even play better?  If your killbox could already handle all those mobs you killed with your hero anyways, then what was the purpose of standing in front of your killbox killing them?  'You' (your hero) and your killbox are the same entity in this game.  I'm not sure why you're viewing it as a failure if you let your traps get kills instead of your hero.  But as far as top score is concerned you still need to hit every single enemy at least once with your hero.  It's not like you can just go afk in a corner and have the traps do the work.  About half of your total potential combos come from the hero, half from the traps.  You need both.

    My worst runs are my highest scores
    This is only really an issue at low scores where most of your points are coming from the ~100k per wave bonus for fast clear times.  When you're using a strong combo killbox hitting 14 combos for 30k score per kill, the 100k time bonus has a much smaller impact on total score.  Instead you only get lower scores when you mess up on combos and accidentally hit an 11-12 instead of a 13-14.  Also each mob leaked into the rift is potentially 4k-30k score lost (depending on enemy type).  You need to balance all the different score sources to get the absolute top score: clear speed, total combos, max combos, gold bonus.

    the leaderboards are not a reflection of how well you did.

    No, but the stars AND the score in combination are.  But i would agree on this point: stars should impact score.  Something like a 10% score penalty for each lost star would be substantial enough to ensure that 4/5 stars runs would have the potential to always be the top scores. 


  • There are two ways to solve the issue you brought up.

    The first one is to design a score system that includes all the major points you brought up. Setup a score formula like

    Score = time * combo * rift points * money * hero damage * trap damage...etc

    There are pros and cons for this type of solution. Pros being that the score will be a synthesis of your overall performance, everything you did in game will be reflected in your final score. Cons being that it throttles creativity by blending variables together. OMD is fun because players can be creative in their play styles, such as "fastest clearing", or "highest combo", or "least trap used"...etc. These variables are usually mutually exclusive. You can't spend the least amount of traps while maintaining a high combo. The same map could have been replayed again and again for different styles, but a synthesized score won't reflect so.

    Thus I could prefer the second solution, which is to calculate score separately by each variable. There will be a time score, combo score, damage score, trap quota score...etc. And the leaderboard will also be reflecting these variables. There will be a score leaderboard, time leaderboard, damage leaderboard, trap quota leaderboad......

    This will greatly increase the replay value and serve as a good end-game goal, and also a better reflection of players' gaming performance.
  • kreekree Member
    Mostly agreed, but it's a hard case to make. Racking up combo points seems to be a big selling point for a lot of people. I personally couldn't care less about how fancy my killbox is (for combos) and am only interested in getting the job done efficiently. Right now it seems to me that combos trump literally all other factors in the score calculation, which makes me totally disinterested in the leaderboards. In my opinion, the only time combos should decide the score difference between two players is when their completion time is within a couple seconds of each other. But if one guy beats a par-5-minute map in 4 mins, then under no circumstance should someone who takes 6 mins have a higher score. And losing a rift point should disqualify you from ranking at all. As far as unstable rifts, making all enemies that spawn from them worth no score points would be a good solution. I don't think there needs to be any penalty beyond that for not killing them, as they are an RNG element and RNG should always be minimized.

    The main problem with this though is that every wave has a minimum completion time. That time seems to be several seconds after the last minions spawn. If you kill all the minions sooner than that, the next wave still won't start until that time passes. Eventually people will find out how to kill every wave in its spawn on every map, and then every top completion time will be equal, with no possibility of improving on it. And then we're back to combos deciding the top ranks anyway, with people trying to rack them up while also killing every minion in its spawn. Going for top score under those circumstances would be even more tedious than it is now.

    Fixing that would require redesigning a few gameplay elements. And there are other higher priority things wrong with the game that need to be fixed first, before perfecting the competition that only like 6 people care about. That said, one interesting approach that I wouldn't mind seeing would be having the wave clock not start until the first minion takes damage. That would give you way more options (as opposed to no options at all) in finding ways to kill the minions as fast as possible. Rather than having to kill them all in their spawn, you can wait until they are funneled to a good killbox, and then massacre them as fast as possible there. This would force a redesign of all map par times, however, so probably not gonna happen.

    But an easy stop-gap measure is just letting people sort the leaderboard by completion time as well as score. Most people seem to agree that score is currently dumb, for various different reasons, so until there's an implementation that most people are happy with, we can see how time competition goes.
  • HypovolemicHypovolemic Member
    edited February 11
    I feel like part of this can be resolved by introducing a challenges system. Each challenge would have its own leaderboard and scoring criteria.  For example:

    Time Challenge
    Activating this challenge makes a countdown timer show on the screen. When the clock hits zero, you lose. Rift Points are irrelevant. If you beat the map in time (old elite times, basically), you get the reward for finishing the map. 
    Score:  The primary score factor is completion time, then rift points, combos and such.

    Level Challenge
    Your account and traps are all downscaled to level 1 (or perhaps lower for Apprentice maps). Otherwise, as is.
    Score:  Normal map scoring system (overall performance), but everyone is on an even playing field.

    Survival Challenge
    Death is permanent. If you die, you lose. Minion damage is increased, Guardians don't provide regen auras (or there are no Guardians spots at all), and there are no health/mana/unchained potion drops.
    Score:  
    Hero damage and minion kills are up-weighted in scoring to encourage you to aggro minions.

    Nightmare Challenge
    Like normal mode, except with really fast wave timers and no Go breaks.
    Score:  Because time is going to pretty much the same for everyone (if the wave time is set short enough), time is removed from scoring with up-weighting of combos and rift points.
    Post edited by Hypovolemic on
  • SeanPoeSeanPoe Member, Early Access
    edited February 10
    My opinions of the different mechanics have definitely changed over time.  When I first started playing I thought the combo-based scoring system was dumb and 'easy' too.  Basically: "Oh, so I should deliberately kill slower and use a bunch of random 'bad' traps to get a higher score? Stupid."  Until i actually started to try to find out what the maximum possible score is on RL baths with Terrysongcn.  First I hit 1.8m (keep in mind this was like 30-40% higher than the next highest score) and continued to think how stupid and easy it was.  Then Terry beat my score at ~1.9m.  Okay, so clearly there's more work to be done.  So I totally overhauled my strategy/playstyle and got 2m.  Surely there's no way anyone can do better than this I thought.  Wrong.  Terry beat me again at 2.2m.  Now Terry is thinking that this about the maximum possible.  Back to the drawing board again.  I totally changed everything again, finally figure out something totally new and hit 2.46m.  I have a massive lead now.  This is it, the maximum, right?  Nope.  After a few days Terry beat my score again at 2.476m.  This is where we are right now.  Terry won't even acknowledge that this is close to the maximum because of how wrong we've been every other time.  Now I'm completely out of ideas to substantially increase this score, just like i was when i was 1.8m and 2m and 2.2m.  But every time I eventually found something that would allow for a much higher score.  My point is there's a lot more depth buried in this system than is immediately obvious.  Not only do you need a great trap strategy (part selection, killbox placement, trap order, trap picks, etc.) but you also need near-flawless execution with your hero too, while also being mindful of the timer.  It requires everything needed for fast clears (optimization, speed, fast reactions, etc.) but with the enormous strategic-complexity of the combo system thrown on top of it too. 

    Now lets take a look at the weekly leaderboards which are the complete opposite of the combo-based score system.  For all the weeklys the top score has always been about being the fastest (I know this because I've had the top 1-2 scores on every weekly).  When I did my first weekly I thought that this was great.  Finally a score system that encourages optimization, speed, and reactions instead of that 'dumb' combo system.  Got top score on my first attempt.  Someone beat my score?  Okay, i just gotta be faster.  Beat again?  Go faster.  Beat again? Must. Go. Faster.  That's literally all there is to it.  I never had to change my strategies.  I never felt completely lost about how i could improve.  It was always the same thing: just go faster.  Now this is truly 'dumb and easy' just like i initially thought about the combo system.  I was wrong about both.

  • StatboyStatboy Member
    edited February 10
    SeanPoe said:
    If the goal of the score system is to maximize combos, and you didn't do that, did you even play better?  If your killbox could already handle all those mobs you killed with your hero anyways, then what was the purpose of standing in front of your killbox killing them?  'You' (your hero) and your killbox are the same entity in this game.  I'm not sure why you're viewing it as a failure if you let your traps get kills instead of your hero.  But as far as top score is concerned you still need to hit every single enemy at least once with your hero.  It's not like you can just go afk in a corner and have the traps do the work.  About half of your total potential combos come from the hero, half from the traps.  You need both.
    Circular logic? Your saying the point of a scoring system is to score points. By your statement you're saying, stopping minions from getting to the Rift is of secondary importance to getting combo's. Because that's how the arbitrary scoring is set up. I'm saying the point of the game should drive the scoring system, not the reverse.

    I do agree with alot of your points, such as there are times when letting an unstable rift form doesn't result in a higher score. But the fact that it can give you more points happens, and in my experience is more common, shows a problem with the scoring system.

    There are two ways to solve the issue you brought up.

    The first one is to design a score system that includes all the major points you brought up. Setup a score formula like

    Score = time * combo * rift points * money * hero damage * trap damage...etc
    Hero damage and Trap damage wouldn't differentiate people who win with all Rift Points intact, in normal mode. So I kinda like having it on endless but not on normal. Giving each variable its own score isn't bad, how would the breakdown go for you? I'd want Rift Points to be worth 75-80% because as I stated earlier, if you let one Rift Point go, you did worse than somebody who was perfect.
  • terrysongcnterrysongcn Member
    edited February 11
    Statboy said:
    Hero damage and Trap damage wouldn't differentiate people who win with all Rift Points intact, in normal mode.
    ohhohoho, you could actually compete on that and that would be fun. Ever thought about the reason for the existence of quarter pounder? There are many ways for you to make an overkill. Do you know how much damage can a hero do in a normal game? Do you know which hero can have the maximum hero damage? (hint: it is definitely NOT bionka) There are many possibilities to play this game creatively, devs really need to do something to encourage that.


  • GorksterGorkster Member, Early Access
    I really think the biggest problem with the combo system is that most people are not close to engaging with it. Combos is something that happens. And there is this chatter on the forums that only if we had T1 traps we could highscore everything. 

    The reality is that OMD2 and now OMDU have a very cool deep game design with layered "reward and scoring" structures.

    See it is a really good idea that stars and scores are not that closely related. Stars are the starting reward structure. You hit a map and get to see how many stars you get there. This is a base measure that someone who plays rarely and casually enjoys. If gives a base skill gradation.

    That said I think it would not be great if low star strategies would dominate highscores on regular maps. But I look at all the solo RL highscores and can't say I see a problem. Clearly those scores near the top with less stars would have done better if it actually 5-starred. But they are good executions with mistakes, and the mistakes are captured by the star reduction. I happen to think that this is perfectly fine.

    The score and combo system is not for the same purpose. That is for people who want to dig in and really engage deeply with the puzzle aspect of OMD* as tower defense game and it is surprisingly deep: Map geometry, trap geometry, ability and interaction, hero abilities, what causes combos, timing, minion pathing and blocking. All these become part of a rather complicated puzzle to solve. That part is not meant for everybody. Some players want to zerg and that is legitimate. But some want to engage with this depth and it needs a scoring system.

    That's what combos do. They lay down the rules of the complicated puzzle to solve. Playing well is literally equivalent to understanding the puzzle the combo system induces. Now compared to OMD2 coin is too easy to get through powergens, which has muddled that equation. But nontheless it's still basically there.

    Also despite a lot of discussion, the current scoring system has a lot of the right "pressures" in place. Slacking on time in waves will impact score negatively. Combos scale in such a way to offset all but the most spammy powergen play (i just tested this today). Spamming useless traps generally lowers score and so forth. All of this is "right" and creates a complicated system that looks to steer the score towards rewarding strong, fast combo play. Exploits might be possible but IMO the fix is to get at these exploits. If trivial strategies (say power gen spam and stalling) is too strong it needs to be tweaked to account for it. But that is nothing like the scoring system being actually broken and needing a complete overhaul.

    OMD* always was designed for different play styles. Endless has two styles: hyperwavers (which in many ways is opposed to very high scores, as kill efficiency is paramount) and hyperscorers (were score may have to sacrifice safety or peak kill potential).

    I think this is already good. I really don't think any of this needs changing.

    Let me argue briefly why I think that for example hero damage would not be an interesting metric: I did bionka eventide RL solo without any damage traps earlier today. I did use one guardian but I'm sure there is a way to do it without. I.e. there is a simple clear and easily attainable hero damage max and it would be the same for everybody. A good scoring system needs to have fuzzy maxes, or so much complication that it is hard to know what a max would be. Hero damage is a measure of activity ultimately and not really that interesting a measure of "good play". I think its current display in the end of game display is quite appropriate for the information it carries. 


  • Gorkster said:
    there is a simple clear and easily attainable hero damage max and it would be the same for everybody.

    there isn't

    hero damage isn't that easy as you thought. It actually requires quite a bit of strategy and execution to achieve a high score, as well as a deep understanding of the game mechanism
  • GorksterGorkster Member, Early Access
    Gorkster said:
    there is a simple clear and easily attainable hero damage max and it would be the same for everybody.

    there isn't

    hero damage isn't that easy as you thought. It actually requires quite a bit of strategy and execution to achieve a high score, as well as a deep understanding of the game mechanism
    On a regular map the number of minions and their healthbars is constant. This defines a max damage that can be delivered to minions on the map. Bionka and a number of other heros can deliver that max damage. What is that complication I am missing here?
  • Gorkster said:
    Gorkster said:
    there is a simple clear and easily attainable hero damage max and it would be the same for everybody.

    there isn't

    hero damage isn't that easy as you thought. It actually requires quite a bit of strategy and execution to achieve a high score, as well as a deep understanding of the game mechanism
    On a regular map the number of minions and their healthbars is constant. This defines a max damage that can be delivered to minions on the map. Bionka and a number of other heros can deliver that max damage. What is that complication I am missing here?
    the overkill damage
    heroes can do massive damage to a minion which is much more than required to kill it
  • GorksterGorkster Member, Early Access
    Oh and that actually goes into current score computation?
  • TimeMasterTimeMaster Member, Early Access
    I'm pretty sure that hero damage doesn't even show consistently on the stat screen or the tab.

    The damage showing ingame varies to the stat screen.

    Overkill damage doesn't add there anyway.

    I doubt hero damage counts to the score, we don't exactly know what counts on that score added every wave though.
  • Gorkster said:
    Oh and that actually goes into current score computation?
    no, i mean in future patches

    this is something i have in mind, it is not done by me and not the highest possible, but would certainly be something that worth competing with.


  • ShadeDevShadeDev Member, Robot Entertainment, Early Access, Apprentice Founder, Featured Developer
    The exisiting score system needs some work.  We are taking a look.
    Doug Houserman
    Robot Entertainment | Lead Balance Designer
  • I think the simplest route is to make a different challenge for each category:
    - Fastest Time Perfect Rift
    - Fastest time completion (min 1 star)
    - Highest Score Perfect Rift
    - Highest Score completion

    Whilst this does not have to be worked into the game screens, it is a simple way of comparing challenges between people on the forums. 

  • @yobbobear I actually really like your line of thinking. What about multiple leaderboards sorted by different categories? I would try to top one while the combo lovers would try to top a different one, and we'd all be happy. This would give replayability to maps by letting you attempt different sub-goals as well.
  • need to be careful with time penalty to prevent the only way of scoring high be fighting at the entrance leaving 95% of the map unused. if 5 starring becomes requirement then some parts of the maps will be impossible to use
  • JacowboyJacowboy Member, Early Access
    nthorn said:
    need to be careful with time penalty to prevent the only way of scoring high be fighting at the entrance leaving 95% of the map unused. if 5 starring becomes requirement then some parts of the maps will be impossible to use
    yeah, that'd be a gigantic waste of map space... :/
  • StatboyStatboy Member
    edited February 12
    @nthorn I haven't used 2/3's of Baths in either difficulty. The fix to that is letting us dial up the difficulty ourselves, by making it harder we can get pushed back.

    I don't support just arbitrarily making it harder, because their is a very large skill gap between the players that get on the forums, and the players I see when I join the Q. I'd go as far as saying that the average person playing just kinda spams whatever traps wherever, with minor consideration given to placing barricades. So while we complain about the game being easy, I don't think we represent the majority in this case. The number of times I see Naphtha with no fire traps is becoming astounding, I'm beginning to wonder if the average OMD player even reads what a trap does before loading out with it.
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