Negative Progress Sort of Sucks

I’ve played NHL ’10 quite a bit online now. There’s one thing that seemed really cool to me, but now I wonder if it really just sucks and takes away from the gaming experience. In NHL ’10 you must complete certain amount of games and get good enough rates in 3 different categories (team play, positioning, stats).

In paper this sounds pretty good: you can progress in game!

There’s just couple of issues with this system from a game design point-of-view. It sort of spoils the fun.

First point is that after completing enough games, you also need to have good enough average ratings in order to progress and gain “experience points”. This means that if your ratings are A in one game and C in other, your average is B. Since it’s a team game, your ratings depend also how your team mates play. If they give you good passes, you have good chances to score and get good stats as a right wing player for example. But… let’s suppose you play well, but lose the game and since one player can do only that much, it eventually affects your score and gives you a negative penalty. After one badly played game you need more than one good match to recover.

So, this means that some players rather end the game (I don’t) instead of completing, since they know they would get a bad rating. So… this is a party spoiler feature. I would have chosen absolute measurement in the system. Things like “Complete 100 games AND get 30 points in the last 10 games”. Now your bad history can ruin the fun. Basically, your progress sort of stops at one point (or requires toooooons of playing).

And then to the other bad point. The averages are based on system that you need to play by the game strategy. That’s sort of fun, except that sometimes it’s better not to follow the instructions, pick pocket the puck in the opponent’s side and possibly score a goal. You might get “stats A, positioning B” for doing that sort of thing – which kind of sucks.

And… if you position right (and don’t steal the puck), then your positioning rating might go to A, but stats are perhaps B or whatever. It’s a lose-lose situation since it means you cannot progress. Not very rewarding.

The worst part is that instead of enjoying playing the game (like I’ve always had with NHL ’95) now I’ve started to watch those freaking “experience points”.

Goddamit.

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