Give players some reward in the event of a crash (loot/XP)

I was playing a “Against the Grain” on champion, full-book; we had just released the last prisoners and were walking to the exit when the game froze. I actually made it to the exit point and was inside it, waiting… the the screen went black and I was back at the start of the level. This is a problem all of us had encountered, but it stung particularly fiercely in this moment.

What if, when the game crashed, you did an evaluation: if the players are 80% through the map when it crashes, just give them the XP and loot (based on the books/dice they had), as if they had passed through it.

I get that this could be exploited… but who cares? I think a very small percentage of the player population would be inclined to exploit this as a default behavior; and I don’t think people would use this to circumvent bosses because they would miss out on the dice drops. Furthermore, I think a larger number of players “are cheated” by the game, than there would be players to elect to “cheat the game” if this feature were enacted.

I wish levels didn’t crash, but I accept that they can. However, I think your loot drop system and XP system should take into account for that possibility, and maybe give the players the benefit of the doubt when it comes to rewards and completion. The levels are longer than they were in the Vermintide 1, so being cheated out of a near complete level feels really bad.

Ideally, you could fix the crash/drop problem – but failing that, could you take some steps so that these bugs didn’t sting so bad: if the problem was on “your end” resolve it as a win on “our end” if we progressed at least 80% through the map. Please consider experimenting with this approach; if it gets disruptively exploited, cut it… but I bet this change would make many players much less salty about these broken matches.

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While considering a crashed run as a completed one would be too much, I think, something could certainly be done as a slight compensation for host disconnects and crashes. Giving loot would likely open this up for too much abuse through purposeful crashing or disconnects (you already pointed out, although by dismissing it, the possibility of skipping Lords, and even on other runs the last 20% of a level or even less still has plenty of chances of failure and slowdown), but letting at least the disconnected and dropped players to get the Exp from the run (exactly like a failed one) could well be enough. The run wouldn’t be completely wasted, but the “reward” would be small enough to be unlikely to encourage people to do this purposefully.

In the case of true crashes, I doubt anything could be done. After all, a genuine crash means the game immediately exits, without saving data or contacting backend servers. That leaves no place for the program to find whether the run succeeded, or to register any results.

fair and simple to do. of course, they won’t do it.

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I generally agree with your points. There would be nothing to do on “true crashes”, so you’re right that this refers to disconnects only. You may be on to something about excluding the host from this; if the host gets nothing, but the players who would otherwise be restarted get something, this might limit the exploitability of this approach.

I agree that there would be some concern about players leveraging this exploit by skipping the last 20% of a level (i.e. finale). I think the dice drops at the end of boss fights would reduced the chance of this happening on those levels. Perhaps a policy that limits the “partial completion” awards to once a day, would be another workable countermeasure against exploits. Alternatively, If 3 players are down, count it as a fail – might work against rage quit victories.

As for rewards – the XP means something, but a lot of late game play is really about getting the chests with full books. On the harder settings (esp legend) completing levels often requires a greater time investment, and (among other factors) more time on level increases the likelihood of host drop. Maybe you don’t give them ranalds luck (so reduced treasure rank) but I still think it’s appropriate to give a chest commensurate with the difficulty.

Two real questions that come up for me are “how would people exploit this feature, and would this behavior disrupt gameplay?” If we assume they would, I wager they would still try to beat the last part of the level, and sometimes the host might realize “we’re not going to make it” and quit in order to give the players XP/loot. If the host gets no XP/loot, they would have an incentive not to quit. If the game counts it as a fail if there are three dead heroes; by the time the host figures out that the battle is really lost, it would be too late to quit and get loot.

It’s not perfect, but I think it could be deployed in a manner that minimizes exploitability… and I think it would be bit more equitable than the current arrangement.

I think you’re underestimating people’s willingness to abuse gameplay stuff, borderline and outright cheating, to get enhanced results. Already people are willing to blatantly cheat with outside assistance and to abuse existing glitches to get better loot or the same loot, but faster. Speedrunning is a thing, and in this game it seems to primarily be for getting as much loot as fast as possible. If disconnecting can shave off 20% of a run’s duration, people will do it. If three people decide they want to do this, even if the host is excluded one person can always “sacrifice” their loot for the others to gain it. If a fourth one joins in the Quickplay, they will suffer not only from the speedrunning mentality itself, but also from a run cut short, thus denying 20% of the gameplay experience they probably came in for. Speedrunners also won’t care as much for the quality of loot, thus denying some bonuses won’t be enough to dissuade them. Thinking only about the Lords’ bonus Dice, leaving that out only brings them down to the regular maps’ level, and would skip a major challenge to boot.

Yeah, I find the idea of getting loot for almost-complete runs to be just too easily abusable (and to be honest, even being able to “rescue” an almost-failed run to still get loot sounds iffy too). If things can be abused, people will abuse them, others be damned. If they offer significant advantages (and shaving a fifth off a run’s timer is significant if you’re inclined to look at the time), they will be abused more often and more easily. If you really want to give a consolation price for map resets caused by external factors, the failed run Exp and maybe, just maybe, a single item (likely, quality-wise, from the Crafting or Commendation Chest tables) would be enough to not make the run feel like a complete waste but still not encourage abuse. The latter doesn’t really feel like FS’s or this game’s style, however.

I know, disconnects, crashes and ragequits are annoying, and FS really should have done better to prevent such from the beginning. We are where we are at the moment, though, and the past cannot be changed. The dedicated servers can mitigate the issues when they come out, but another failsafe wouldn’t go amiss. But I don’t think giving people a yet another mechanic to potentially abuse, especially when the potential is this obvious, isn’t the right way to do that. Getting the Resilient Connection mod working so it can be approved, or better yet, implementing similar stuff into the game proper, would go a long way. Checkpoints and effective host migration would be another. Giving loot for less effort, not so much.

If they ever impenitent checkpoints for host transmission (dedicated servers wouldn’t be bad but lets be real) to give you the option to restart at the last checkpoint before the crash would be a solid solution.

You’ll note I asked “how would they exploit…” rather than “would they exploit…”. I’ve got no delusions here.

If they get dedicated servers, this wont be a problem. If the implement a (broken connection only) checkpoint system, as you and Haxorzist suggested, this won’t be a problem.

Though it was spread out in my post, I suggested three mechanisms that could reduce disruptive exploitation (by which I mean, exploitation that would negatively affect quick matches). Let me enumerate these methods again:

  1. The host doesn’t get anything.
  2. No player can benefit from this mercy more than once in a 24 hour period.
  3. If the connection breaks, when three or more players are down, it counts as a fail.

In theory, we might still get groups of friends who will break connection (once a day) so that their friends get the XP and Loot. In all honesty, I don’t care about these people using the exploit in this manner, as far as I’m concerned, it’s consensual.

I wouldn’t want hosts to routinely end a map prematurely in order to get loot so they could grind more quickly. This behavior would make the game less fun for “non-consenting” players; mechanisms should be in place to prevent this. Methods 1 & 2 would discourage this behavior. Furthermore, I wouldn’t want to let this work as a feature where the host could decide to bail when things got bad in order to save the map for the others; Method 3 would counter this behavior.

To sum up: I think these changes would be a low risk for generating new disruptive behavior; ultimately, I’m more concerned about changes making the game less fun for random matches, than I am the idea of small groups of confederates milking an exploit.

Though I disagree with you in a few points, I also value the criticisms you’re bringing up, as they are helping me to better articulate this idea.

Dedicated servers, should we just feel silly for ever hoping they were serious? Are we foolish to still hope “Maybe after Xbox is fixed?” … Probably. The Only problem with a checkpoint system for peer hosting is that it would become the meta if ever a run was about to fail, the host alt-f4’s as a layup to his team for a sudden “second chance” … and then just rejoins his group.

It’s not simple at all. The host is sending all the info to players & main serv. Which is why if he crashes, main server have no way to know where the players were at the time of the crash, since they communicate with the host rather than the main server.
What you want here is dedicated servers.

There is no main server in hosted games. Fatsharks server is only connected to when you craft or receive loot. The host say’s where the enemies are if you hit them/they hit you and the clients simulate it. When the host/you disconnects the enemies start to walk in place because of a lack of orders from the host. Clients in this case still know where they and all enemies are on the map and could in theory even pick up the role of host immediately. Now the thing is that there is a connection time out here of ~30s after wards it selects a new host and starts the map over. But what it could do instead is continue where the game stopped or from a certain checkpoint (that’s easier to program).

PS: The lobby browser is a steam server. It should only receive data from the hosts about map players etc. to show it to potential clients.

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