Brain Insurance: Reimbursing Zombie Team for Inactive and Abandoned Players



  • The Problem
    Despite our efforts, there are still games where zombies never pose a threat to humans due to afk players and humans leaving upon death. In such instances, Z-Team has everything they need to bust through a cade, and punish human mistakes, yet the apathy of their players leave the few who remain unable to make an impact. Such games are boring for all players, as humans have nothing to shoot, and zombies are simply idle or fighting an impossible battle. A, even going as far as blaming single zombie players for providing too hard a challenge. Encouraging all zombie players to try by making zombies stronger has improved some instances of said behavior, but we can do better by analyzing the heart of the matter. When players leave or afk, one of the core principles of ZS is being violated: the overall power of Z-Team is not increasing with each human killed.

    Inactive players or quitters rob Z-Team of its powerful asset, the ability to turn bad human players into an effective addition to their horde. Without this, zombies must shut down key human players which is becoming more and more difficult as humans are pushed deeper into cades. Z-Team deserves to become more powerful with each kill scored, regardless of said player’s role or skill level. Likewise, late joiners serve to have the opposite effect, as zombie team becomes more powerful without taking any action. While not as common, this sometimes is used for justification of point starving, as zombies have a chance to gain numbers for the later waves despite not attacking humans at all. Then, on later waves, z-team will have stronger zombies and a larger population without allowing human team to build their force as well. For a scenario such as this, zombie team ought to become weaker to compensate for their undeserved players.

    To remedy these injustices, I propose a new mechanic: Brain Insurance.

    Making the Insurance Statement
    As stated previously, Z-team ought to grow stronger with every killed player regardless of that player’s willingness to participate. In order to accomplish this, we should track the number of zombie players that do not participate either due to idleness or abandoning, from here on referred to as OWED players. Idle players, after being deemed inactive can be booted out to spectator and prompted to press a button to rejoin the game. All players in this state shall be added to the total of OWED players, and be marked out on the scoreboard as IDLE. Every player that quits on Zombie team (And human team?) will also be added to the total of OWED players, and marked out on the scoreboard as QUIT. The number of OWED players should be clearly visible to both teams on the scoreboard, and the zombie death screen. OWED players will only decrease upon a late joiner entering the game (and possibly if there are too many zombie volunteers at the beginning of the game).

    Reimbursement

    In thinking about how to reimburse zombies for their owed players, I’ve concluded that an equally distributed health buff to all ACTIVE non-boss zombies would be the most effective, due to it simulating the impact of having another healthy zombie in the horde. More health equals more time hitting barricades, and some more protection to rush the humans with. More health also ensures that human team has actual threats that require just as much damage to defeat as a horde of motivated zombies. Late joiners can subtract from OWED players, even to the point of taking away health should OWED players become negative.

    Proposed health formula:

    • Reimbursed Health = (Health * (1+ (OWED Players/Active Players))

    Examples of an Insured Zombie Team

    • 5 zombies are picked at the start of the round. One quits immediately, and is added to the amount of OWED players. (1+(1/4)) = 1.25, therefore each of the remaining zombies will have an additional 25% health to compensate for their missing player.

    • Let’s say as the round goes on, those four zombies manage to snag 2 humans who go afk, setting the total number of owed players to 3, and the leaving the amount of active players to 4. (1+(3/4)) = 1.75, therefore each zombie will have 75% more health to compensate for inactive players.

    Presentation
    Without being gracefully communicated to the players under its effects, and the opposing team, such a system will only serve to infuriate and confuse.
    All players ought to know:

    1. Who quit/is afk
    2. How many total players are OWED to zombie team
    3. The current magnitude of the reimbursement buff each zombie will receive

    For indicating afk/quit players, special scoreboard banners can be given to inactive players and players who have abandoned. At the top of zombie team’s scoreboard, a total of OWED players should be visible as well as the current reimbursement bonus they shall receive. Both teams are privy to this information. To remind zombie team, an additional message should be added to the death screen informing them of their current health bonus. To further remind zombie team of how much stronger they are, the reimbursed health could be shown as a different color in their health bar, and the percentage they are currently gained could be visible under the fear meter.

    I made a few mockups of what the scoreboard and death sceeen could look like here

    Conclusion
    The concepts of owed players and reimbursement are vital to fixing ZS’s consistency problem, as it should give the remaining players the strength to continue regardless of those who refuse to try. Flexibility is key to the success of a system, given that it aims to simulate the impact of having another active player. Previous systems have failed due to their rigidity, and ultimate dependence on zombies participating when their effects wore off. Insurance will not encourage humans to sacrifice players, or discourage humans from shooting zombies, but rather be a targeted boost that becomes more potent the more it is needed. Clarity is also vital to the bonus’s effectiveness, as players can see that they’re growing stronger despite their team’s idleness.

    Thanks for reading, I hope we can kill this problem soon.



  • Wasn’t there also an idea thrown around to force ragequitters into volunteers when they rejoin?



  • @raox I don’t think that’ll improve much. If they ragequit they’ll just idle out their forced volunteer for zombie. Instead of punishing players who don’t play we should reward those that do.



  • Then extend it if they idle maybe



  • With such a massive health buff, that will significantly change the game framework. Can you imagine a chem buster and eradicator with double health from 4 quitters? You could find that after a few quitters, individual zombies become too dangerous even at the early waves and force players back into cades. Even with a quitting human, that still affects the human team negatively. You’ve weakened their team. I think it’s all to easy to try and control every aspect of a very fluid game, that could ultimately be to the detriment of the gameplay. Either punish regular quitters if you have to do something or leave it as it is.



  • @sally-mcsaggytits
    Reconsider your statements.

    With such a massive health buff, that will significantly change the game framework. Can you imagine a chem buster and eradicator with double health from 4 quitters?

    According to my formula, for 4 quitters to be doubling zombie team’s health there could only be 4 active zombies. Were all 8 zombie players playing the game, Z-Team’s total health would remain the same. If you believe this is unfair, then I must ask, do you think the game is balanced around afk zombies? Would adding bots would be any different?

    Even with a quitting human, that still affects the human team negatively. You’ve weakened their team.

    Please re-read my section on the philosophy of zs. “Inactive players or quitters rob Z-Team of its powerful asset, the ability to turn bad human players into an effective addition to their horde.” Zombie team deserves to get stronger when they kill a human, the least you can do is compensate them for the health an additional member would add to the horde were they actually playing.

    I think it’s all to easy to try and control every aspect of a very fluid game, that could ultimately be to the detriment of the gameplay.

    It’s not easy to control ANY aspect of the gameplay, it took me 1000 words to speak my peace on the subject. Effectively having every killed human benefit z-team will make the game less “fluid” in the sense that zombies will have some insurance against afking players, making them more capable when players refuse to play zombie. Wouldn’t punishing players for leaving while playing zombie be more restrictive, as it’s mandating player behavior?

    Either punish regular quitters if you have to do something or leave it as it is.

    Punishing people will not be effective. Forcing players to play zombie will only result in anti-idle scripts and unmotivated players, avoiding the root of the problem. Games with impotent zombies need to end, they’re boring for all players involved.



  • run a whole bunch of zeta nor commands on any players gmod who leaves within a minute of dying ;)



  • 0_1521256707898_cowards die in shame.jpg



  • One thing I’ve noticed is even if you give the zombies a lot of buffs, the winrate will not decrease overtime in the long term. There was a sharp decrease to 9% in the first week of the recent buffs, but it rose to 12%.

    After these recent buffs, the winrate has roughly remained 12%. I think it’s a testament to the player base and the fact that you can’t make the gamemode more interesting by buffing zombies because humans just aren’t going to take risks if you do so. Humans taking more risks is how it used to be and it worked…and some how the winrate was still roughly 12% or at least felt like it, even a year or so ago.

    The biggest contributors to winrate increases are going to be hallway and maps with terrible zombie spawns, and maps with zombie gas inside sigil spawns making that go the other way. We need to address the problem in different ways. Make sure we keep getting rid of maps with predictable outcomes. Making games of ZS predictable is bad. Both sides should believe they should be able to push an advantage.

    Increase the starting zombie count to mitigate the effect of AFK zombies. And perhaps we’ll see if we need some kind of zombie reimbursement, because the whole really is more than the sum of it’s parts and it would take more than a health buff to reimburse said players. We need more things to do outside like collect X items or something. Make those spawns away from sigils. If it’s lucrative enough you’ve got a reason to take risk and then zombie players have a reason to go Fast Zombie and attempt to chase them down.



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