The Highscore Ladder – Sacred 2

4 min read
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Torsten Allard explains design and backgrounds

The great thing about gaming is that players get to compete with each other and compare skills. The principle may not work equally well for all games (it is less practical in adventures, for instance), but basically this is a feature that gives you added motivation.

We are going to make sure that it will add to gamers’ motivation in Sacred, and especially in Sacred 2. Reaching the top with your character is a really good feeling – all the more so when others can see you up there!

That is why the ladder system used for Sacred 1 was pretty widely accepted.

However, the ladder was a bit rudimentary then, and we can definitely do better in Sacred 2. Let me tell you about the improvements we made, because they will soon become an extended part of the game through the Sacred 2 website..

Well, just as with Sacred 1, highscores in the Sacred 2 ladder will, by default, be sorted by ladder points. A player’s ladder points largely depend on his or her experience, but other aspects such as kills, deaths (negative factor), exploration progress etc. will also influence the result.

However, the million dollar question is how to weight each of those factors. On that point, opinions differ dramatically, with some considering “kills” to be pretty insignificant, while others hold that the player’s progress exploring the world is of no importance.

These different assessments are obviously largely due to the different approaches and goals pursued by various gamers. Basically, there are four types:

  1. The “speed leveler”: This gamer wants to get to the top in as little time as possible. Experience points and the time played are what matters most to this type of gamer, whereas exploration of the game world is usually rock bottom on their list of priorities.
  2. The “killer”: A gamer who aims to kill as many NPCs as possible, or maybe only certain classes of enemies. For this type of gamer, the number of kills is the most important criterion, while experience points and deaths are also of interest.
  3. The “explorer”: These gamers want to see as much of the world as possible. They aim to uncover the entire game world if they can, and complete every quest there is. Experience points are a bonus, but not really all that important – and kills are totally insignificant.
  4. The “all-rounder”: Everything is more or less equally important to gamers of this type, but experience points are what they cherish most. By default, the ladder will be sorted by this player type.

With these different types in mind, we will be creating separate ladders with different weight given to each of the aspects that make up a player’s success. That way, all players should be able to find themselves in their favorite ladders.

Another question we have to ask ourselves is: how volatile should the ladders be? Again, there are many different opinions to be considered. Should the best players stay at the top of the list forever, or should they have ladder points deducted after a while, in order to give new characters a chance to get to the top? Some think more frequent changes in the ladder are a good idea, because they provide an incentive to create a new character. Others don’t see why, after they have invested so much time and effort in getting their characters to the top, they can’t stay there, and why ladder points are deducted once they cross a certain age limit.

Finding a solution to please everyone is not easy. To accommodate both sides, an option to toggle such point deductions on or off will be implemented.

Moreover, the Sacred 2 ladder will feature many more parameters than we had for Sacred 1. This gives us more ways of comparing results, and adds to the competitiveness.

The new ladder contains an important new element: many new community features. Gamers will be able to form guilds within the ladder and battle for positions in a separate guild ranking, they will be able to establish friends lists and compare results directly with their friends, see if any of their friends are currently playing Sacred 2 online, etc. Thus, the ladder fosters a sense of community.

Finally, we have the achievements, which some gamers already know from playing on Xbox 360. These will be introduced in the PC game as well. Again, the score can be viewed within the ladder. Who will be first to collect all the achievements available, and make it to the top of the list? We are dying to find out! ๐Ÿ™‚

There are even more features than the ones I have discussed here, but it would really take too long now to describe them all. Be ready to be surprised!

We can’t wait for the game to be released, and we look forward to watching you all charge to the top of the rankings. May the best player win! ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Updated: July 14, 2008

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