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Community Level Challenge Designers - Playtesting: 7/27/2019 05:37:01

Level 50
Wondering for those of you who create community level challenges,

1. how much playtesting do you do before publishing?

2. Have you every published a challenge that you thought was balanced/fair only to find out from the results sometime later that it was too difficult or too simple for the players?

3. Any advice you would offer to your fellow level designers?

4. What kind of challenges do you enjoy most?

Answering my own questions in case anyone is curious:
1. I usually run 4-5 playthroughs to get a feel for the flow. I have some moments that make me go "uh-oh" or "crap" in the challenge, I usually refine from there.

2. 4 of my challenges that I published had lower than expected win/attempt rates (Clash of Titans Series)
2 of them were like woah, I must have gotten really lucky when I published it: Space Race 2025 and All I need are reinforcements, hard mode
1 challenge I was happy when more players cleared than I thought would win (Avatar challenge)

3. If you enjoy the game you made, there is a chance at least some other player will enjoy your challenge

4. Challenges where there is reasonable chance to win or lose and it comes down to your skill (and luck if that is applicable). I prefer bigger maps (500+ territories) personally. Love challenges where multi-attack is involved (on big maps)

PS 1: I did a thread search for the topic but all I got was warlight 2 (warzone) design, so if there is a pre-existing thread, feel free to post it

PS2: For those who love multi-player more than solo-play, that's fine, but please note this is not the thread for that :)
Community Level Challenge Designers - Playtesting: 7/27/2019 06:17:27

Roi Joleil
Level 60
1. a ton of testing. usually its testing to find out exploits (unintended sollutions) and to see how hard it is. i go with. if i am able to beat it.. its to easy. (or for most others. its already impossible and i make it even more impossible).

2. it actually happens quiet often that it seems it was to easy or to hard. but thats has mostly to do with me being surprised how many people know about the trick i implemented.

stop spamming trash levels. thats my advice. id easily can say. 90% of levels are made by people who put in now thought in it and its either a poor grind fest (you needing to expand for 50 turns until you see the AI just to totally destroying it then) or its poor luck.

an example to the luck one. there is a differents for me when someone makes a scenario with 39 AI's and random starts and 1 big bonus that basicly wins the game and to levels like lepanto that while its a ton of luck it atleast thought through it. maybe hard to explain when you dont play his levels.

4. a puzzle challenge. usually its either an "whaaat?" moment (good example can be this https://www.warzone.com/SinglePlayer/Level?ID=1161882 ) you start out the level and you see that you can do seemingly nothing to beat the AI. its.. like the name says.. a stalemate.
or i try to trick the player in a way that they will do something where they are 1billion % sure about they have to do it but in fact its losing the scenario already.

i also make generally very hard levels. wich is pretty much the reason i only play from a view selected players levels. those being DanWL / Lepanto (if he would make a none 99.999% luck level) and Muli.

everyone with their own distinct style
Lepanto: invented the "pure luck" setting in contrast to the "pure skill" one.
Muli: basicly makes their level luck free and still very difficult.
Dan: plays around with settings
Me: puzzle's and tricks

thats can be seen very good when you sort it in difficulty as as of right now luck is the only way to make an extremly hard levels wich is why you will find first Lepanto a lot.. then Me.. then Muli... and then DanWL

maybe one day i find a way to make an incredible impossible level wich requires close to no skill.
Community Level Challenge Designers - Playtesting: 7/27/2019 08:21:50

Level 63
Funnily enough, I had a level idea as this thread was made. Unfortunately, I’ll have to do my idea the hard way round.

1) I can usually predict how the game will go after 0 to 5 attempts. Sometimes there are ways to complete your levels that you didn’t notice but others did.

2) No. I’ve almost never made a fair level. I usually feel that human v 1 AI is generally far too easy, so I add 1-2 more on their own AI team to increase the chance of AIs winning. Reinforcement cards in uneven teams makes it significantly harder to win depending on how many armies it gives.

3) As Joi said, don’t make a shoddy level. An example of a level like that is one where luck plays a large role or where you have so much armies that you’ll easily overrun others.

4) Anything that sticks out from the ordinary. I like the puzzle levels. It feels so nice once you finally beat it. I also like ones which make use of less commonly used features. Mixing and matching settings creates interesting/complex gameplay. I know not everyone is into complex gameplay but I like it because it feels fun. You have to stop and think about what you’re doing before making your next set of orders. I like the more difficult levels that aren’t very luck dependent.

I prefer medium-small maps (50-300 territories). With maps of that size, it doesn’t take all that long to eliminate all players. Shouldn’t really take any longer than an hour per attempt.

Have fun making your levels!

Edited 7/27/2019 08:22:34
Community Level Challenge Designers - Playtesting: 7/27/2019 11:24:46

Level 62
1. how much playtesting do you do before publishing?

Depends on the levels, but I do test them quite a lot. I generally have a concept in mind, and playtest several rounds in order to have the level of difficulty desired. Playtesting is especially needed if you plan to add cards that require timers.

2. Have you every published a challenge that you thought was balanced/fair only to find out from the results sometime later that it was too difficult or too simple for the players?

Yeah this happened some times. It's mostly due to own faults in not seeing alternative strategies to solve a level, or underestimating the resolution of some players. One has to remember that many Sp players are going to go the extra mile to get a win.

For example this level:


My planned solution was to kill the first Ai, and then focus on the second Ai. Instead many players just waited for the 2nd Ai to come out, and let the two Ai fight each other!

3. Any advice you would offer to your fellow level designers?

Play around with the settings. Especially with the cards settings.
Avoid making levels where If ai Ai were to take over the human player he would still be able to win the level. ( of the 9072 community levels, 3590 have an 80%+ wr, that is nearly 40% of all levels.)

Win rate aside, I personally prefer custom scenarios since they give all players the same starting field and same chances at getting the fastest win.

. What kind of challenges do you enjoy most?

I like any type of hard level that makes you think about what strategy to use to get the needed win. I like puzzles, and custom scenario levels, on both small and big maps.

Lepanto (if he would make a none 99.999% luck level

Honestly I don't see all of this luck on my levels. Yes certain levels require some degree of luck, but that is to be found on all hard non puzzle level.

For example, the Feudal Wars (I-II-III avg 0.35%wr) levels require no luck. They just need a good understanding of the Ai.

Community Level Challenge Designers - Playtesting: 7/28/2019 06:37:23

Level 50
Joi179, if you like hard levels, you should try some of mine, while they aren't impossible by design, a few are among the top 10 pages of results when you sort by most difficult (considering there are close to 10k levels, that's not too bad).

Maybe I'm odd, but I actually like it when people clear my challenges. I design to challenge but not for impossibility, though like all of the others so far, I don't care for levels that give the player too much of an advantage
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