Replay Value?

I’ve been drawing the first level for my co-op stealth prototype, and there’s one major gameplay issue I started pondering: replay value.

The multiplayer games I’ve played are all about replay:

    Zombie Panic (or other Half-life zombie mods): I kept playing the same 2-3 levels over and over.

  • L4D: Versus or co-op mode, but I did spend some time playing the same levels.
  • NHL ’10 (and of course ’95) is pretty obvious: skating on the ice with bit different teams doing the same thing over and over.

This got me thinking whether I should try find ways to offer replay value for the first level by various systems (such as randomizing the places of important objects, guards, guard AI, and so on) or whether I should focus on doing a totally handcrafted level where guards, objects, and everything are found from the designed locations.

Since stealth games are different from action games, adding the replay value might become tricky as the levels are somewhat “puzzles to be solved”. Once you know the route to complete the mission, the replay value is close to zero.

I know I’ll just start with simple system: I’ll design a map that needs to be “solved” cooperatively and see how that works out. Better not try make things more complex than necessary.

Your take on this?
If you’ve played online multiplayer games, what has been the most useful elements that have got you back to play the game over and over? To me, the biggest replay value has been people – the multiplayer gaming experience in itself. Even a simple game of Risk becomes much more fun when playing against Real People instead of AI.

Note for self: there’s tons of material about “replay value” in the net and design books. Re-reading some resources might bring more ideas on how to handle this.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. its hard to describe all of it as, some is just for visual customisation such as the emblems(pictures that apear on your tag and gamercard) and tags which show which tasks you have done. Prestiges allow you to continue leveling your character after you have reached the top level by starting from scratch with only the emblems and tags you have already unlocked. However you do then get the oportunity to get new tags/emblems that were’nt available on the previous prestige.

    The only unlocks that actually effect the game are weapon attachments which change your weapon by silencing it or adding extra damage or just giving you a better aimer.
    If you get a certain amount of headshots with a weapon then you get a new camoflage for that weapon just to show you are good with it.
    Prestiges are pretty much starting from scratch to increase the level cap from 70 to 700 and merely adding extra unlocks and showing that you are better than lower players. again sorry for long posting and for probably rambling on, repeating my self and so on. What infinity ward have done is make addicting unlocks that play on the fact you want to be better than others and to show it, Because other than weapon unlocks none of the others actually make the play different. This could easily be translated to you ideas as you could probably with a little effort do the same sort of visual rewards system

  2. very good post, thanks stu.

    what kind of prestiges & unlockables there are? are they really valuable/useful or more about “unlocking things for the sake of unlocking things”

  3. this may not interest or inspire you haha but recent call of duty games (although different genere, it could still be relevant) are always the same both online and offline. the missions are scripted with exception of well written ai that does do some things randomly like take different routes. But other than that offline missions are always the same, if you increase the difficulty you just take more damge per bullet and enemies are slightly smarter. Online is the same, the same spots are used and the same routes its just a matter of people learning them.

    But they have added prestiges and hundreds of unlockables and so it has replay value. My suggestion therefore is you could add different puzzles or allow them to unlock items to customize your ninja or add more to the game, it may add more development time but it signifcantly increases the games value to the player in my opinion as they get addicted to making the game their own and getting everything out of it.
    p.s. sorry for long post, i did’nt think it would take that long and i hope it helps even a little

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